Two Big Wins For Fire Safety Across Australia

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13th October 2009, 12:57pm - Views: 1032

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Jennifer Roberts

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13 October 2009

Two big wins for fire safety across Australia

Julie Harris, Community Ageing Strategist from MFB’s Community Education department, last week

accepted the major accolade, the RACV Award for Excellence at the annual Fire Awareness Awards at the

RACV Club, for her contribution to the Community Services Training Package project which was led by the


Ms Harris was also honoured with the prestigious Laurie Lavelle Award at the Australasian Fire Authorities

and Emergency Services Council (AFAC) conference on the Gold Coast on 21 September; for her work on

the Community Services Training Package as well as her work in coordinating research and raising

awareness of the effects of hoarding in the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire District.

The community services training package project is believed to be a world-first project, which with the

support of AFAC was centrally developed to embed basic home fire safety into 49 nationally recognised

community care training qualifications.

This includes qualifications in the areas of aged care, disability services, social housing services, child

protection, youth services, mental health services, active volunteering and pastoral care, delivered across

every state in Australia.

The information in the training packages covers basic home fire safety, including awareness about smoke

alarms and people who are at high risk in the case of fire – basic information that can be crucial for the

prevention of and survival in the case of a fire.

Ms Harris was gracious in accepting the awards, saying that for her, the real achievements were in the

projects themselves.

“The magnitude of the community services training package project is huge,” she said.

“The Certificate IV in Aged Care qualification alone is undertaken by 60,000 people across Australia each


“This has the potential to raise awareness of and make a difference to fire safety and preparedness in tens

of thousands of homes and businesses across the country.”

Ms Harris has also been instrumental in achieving the publication of the MFB report, An Analysis of Fire

Incidents Involving Hoarding Households.

The report highlights the occurrence of hoarding house fires right across Melbourne and the impact these

have on the added life risk to the occupants.

Commander Frank Stockton, Manager Community Education, said that the MFB were very proud of Ms

Harris’ accomplishments across the two projects. 

“She has put in a tremendous amount of work across both of the projects, which will go a long way toward

promoting fire safety, preventing fires and saving lives right across Australia,” he said.

“She is a very deserving recipient of both awards.”

The Fire Awareness Awards are a joint initiative of MFB, CFA and DSE and proudly supported by RACV

Insurance, which publicly recognise the success of fire safety initiatives by individuals, fire agencies, groups

and organisations, in Victoria.  

The Laurie Lovell Award recognises the outstanding efforts of an individual who has contributed significantly

to enhancing the knowledge, skills, operations, performance or public profile of the fire and emergency

services in Australasia.

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