CICCC Update—8 December 2011 Meeting
Presentation by Craig Lapsley, Fire Services Commissioner
The Fire Services Commissioner, Craig Lapsley explained that the bushfires in 2009 were fundamental in changing the way fire services establish priorities. The need for someone to bring together the three fire fighting agencies (MMFB, DSE and CFA) was recognised in Recommendation 63 of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. Fire fighting now has a renewed focus on the primacy of life, which involves issuing timely, relevant and tailored emergency warnings to people along with the traditional focus on protecting life and property.
The Fire Services Commissioner Act 2010 mandates a three year rolling program of renewal, a set of standards for Fire Services to establish consistency across DSE, CFA and MFB,. operational control of all major fires passing to the Fire Services Commissioner, the provision of information to the community and issuing warnings, and training and accreditation for executives of the three services.
Strategic Control priorities were issued by the Fire Services Commissioner to all emergency Incident Controllers in all Victoria’s fire and emergency services, providing direction in the management of fires, floods and other incidents. These are the protection and preservation of life (which is paramount); issuing of community information and community warnings (which extends to pre-emergency preparation); protection of critical infrastructure and community assets; protection of residential property; protection of assets supporting individual livelihoods and economic production; and the protection of environmental and conservation assets.
Craig stated that Incident Controllers need to manage the fire and the community at the same time, which will require some culture change, and the increased use of iPhones, social media, Twitter and Facebook.
Craig distributed an A3 information guide titled “Your Bushfire Survival“, setting out the key actions for residents in a high risk area on Code Red, Extreme and Severe days. These are (1) leave early – always the safest option; (2) be well prepared – your safety is not guaranteed and (3) take shelter, the last resort – involves a high risk of trauma, injury or death. Options include an approved private bunker, a community fire refuge or, as a last resort a neighbourhood safe place. For more information visit http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au or call the Victorian bushfire Information line on 1800 240 667. Information on private bunkers may be found on http://www.wildfiresafetybunkers.com.au/contact.aspx
Next meeting of the CICCC
The CICCC has decided to hold one or two of the four meetings each year at the Terminals site on Coode Island, to enable Committee members to keep in touch with developments on the ground. The first meeting in 2012 has been scheduled for Wednesday 29 February, and will be at Terminals Pty Ltd site office on Mackenzie Road, Coode Island at 3:00 pm. Any interested member of the community is welcome to attend the CICCC meetings.