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    Whilst the Barwon Otway Strategic Bushfire Management Plan is in many ways an excellent document, one of the areas it does not thoroughly address are the range of stakeholder groups which are particularly vulnerable to bushfires, should they occur. Read through this document, and discuss in the forum your ideas on who will comprise these vulnerable groups.


    The document does mention consultation with various stakeholder groups but has neglected to mention anything about the vulnerable such as aged-care facilities, community hospitals, kindergartens etc.
    People living in and on the fringe of high risk bush are extremely likely to be impacted by bushfires. Maybe the local CFAs and shire have done this consultation work with individuals or small local groups of individuals/families but it has not be mentioned.
    Day or holiday visitors are very vulnerable, maybe not knowing the local area well or unaware of the impact of bushfires in particular areas.
    The area around the Great Ocean Rd is a major hazard with often only one or two roads available to evacuate people or to send in fire fighters and other emergency workers. It can be easily cut-off.


    Hi Michael, you’re exactly right. Whilst the document does have many positive issues (and it does actually mention holiday-home owners, short-stay visitors, and day trippers on p. 14), it could do better in this area, particularly taking account of potentially vulnerable stakeholders such as school buses (travelling thru’ the bush), the elderly, children, sick etc.

    That being said, the document should ideally be read in conjunction with the Surf Coast Shire’s Municipal Emergency Management Plan (MEMP). In fairness to the Barwon Otway bushfire risk landscape document, where this large focuses on (ISO 31000) risk management process which can be initiated out in the bush, The MEMP is much more focussed on the populated areas, and can be found by googling the Surf Coast Shire 2014-17 Municipal Emergency Management Plan. This does include specific sections on vulnerable stakeholders (eg socio-economic disadvantage; and those with disabilities) on pages 24/25, for example. i


    Agreed with other Michael and Chris – it addresses the ‘most common’ stakeholders affected rather than the most vulnerable. This may reflect an emphasis on assisting all those in need due to the immediacy of the potential threat rather than triaging individuals by vulnerability – although I would argue that effective triaging of risk would allow for more effective responses. An endangered property of an elderly couple who are known to have various council and home help services in place should warrant a phone call at least to see if they are aware of the immediacy of the issue and are able to safely evacuate in the event of a bushfire, for example, whereas you would be less concerned about the physical ability of a young couple to evacuate.


    The CFA do have a FA Community Fireguard set up in particularly vulnerable bushfire areas. There is, for example, one down at Moggs Creek, just the other side of Aireys Inlet along the Great Ocean Road. This is a CFA supported program, where community members prepare for potential fire risks, including working out a ‘phone tree’ type arrangement where people can contact each other in the most effective way possible. Ideally special arrangements are made for people with disabilities; the elderly etc. Note in the humanitarian directory – on p.4 there are two references by CBM relating to people with disabilities in disasters; and also on p.9, two more references by Help Age for elderly people in disasters. Ideally in an Australian context, local governments (such as the Surf Coast Shire in its Municipal Emergency Management Plan – see p.16 of humanitarian bibliography), take notice of vulnerable groups of people.

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