New DVD a tool for fire safety

David CharlesworthHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Recover Community Development communications officer Melissa Howard and Harvey shire president Tania Jackson launch the Bushfire Preparedness DVD. Pictures David Charlesworth
Camera IconRecover Community Development communications officer Melissa Howard and Harvey shire president Tania Jackson launch the Bushfire Preparedness DVD. Pictures David Charlesworth

Testimonies from residents who went through the 2016 Waroona-Yarloop Bushfires stirred hearts at the launch of Harvey Shire Council’s bushfire preparedness DVD on Thursday, which aims to prepare other communities.

Councillors, shire staff, emergency services representatives and residents interviewed for the DVD, attended the launch of Importance of Preparedness: Lessons Learnt 2016 January Bushfires at the former Harvey Bushfire Recovery Centre.

The DVD consists of segments conveying specific messages of how to be bushfire-ready at any stage of the event, told at many stages by interviews with residents who went through the 2016 fires.

Funding to produce the DVD came from the Natural Disaster Resilience Program with Harvey receiving $21,960, one of 12 successful WA applicants out of 41 nation-wide.

Shire president Tania Jackson thanked all those who had worked on the DVD project and said the presentation had many valuable lessons to share.

“We appeal to people to watch and take on the messages to be better prepared for the fire season,” she said.

Harvey Recovery Community Development communications officer Melissa Howard said the DVD took about six months of work with the editing the longest stage.

“We had to collect footage and photos and the filming itself was only a week,” she said.

A call for those interested in being part of the DVD was put out through the fire-affected region in the council’s bushfire recovery newsletter.

“We also had the Stories from the Fireground book and we identified people in there that we knew had good stories to share,” she said.

“It’s not something for everyone, it’s really hard to go back to probably the scariest moment in your life and talk about it.”

Ms Howard said those who told their stories received support before and after the telling of what was a traumatic time.

“We knew that it might be an emotional thing to do but people just did it so well and surprisingly it had a therapeutic effect,” she said. Ms Howard said the DVD would be used as a tool to promote preparedness and would be shared with surrounding local governments.

“Obviously with climate change, the South West is drying out and we probably won’t see the last of bushfires and we just want to make sure people aren’t caught out,” she said.

Harvey will be partnering with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services for its campaigning in the lead up to the fire season.

“This will be going on YouTube, it will be part of DFES’ campaign and it’s also gone out to the 12 local governments of the South West to be part of their preparedness campaigns and our neighbours just here in the Peel, Waroona and Mandurah as well,” Ms Howard said.

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