In true Safer Together style, CFA supported a community-driven property clean-up in Moe South recently. With 50 households participating out of a total of 200 households in the area, this was a hugely successful event.
Over the recent Melbourne Cup long weekend, the Moe South community put on a community clean-up to prepare for the upcoming bushfire season. This initiative was part of Safer Together’s Community Based Bushfire Management (CBBM) project which is facilitated in the west Gippsland area by Rebekah Baynard-Smithn and employee of Latrobe City Council.
This community clean-up day supported Moe South residents to reduce fire risk and build resilience in the spirit of shared responsibility and shared contribution.
During an initial online meeting prompted by a survey sent to all Moe South residents, the community recognised individual property maintenance as a key part of reducing fire risk in the Moe South area. In the lead-up to a long weekend working bee, a planning workshop was held online to help residents understand their rights and responsibilities as rural land owners, what is best practice to building a fire-ready home and landscape, and how to follow council regulations in their preparations.
We also had a special presentation from Victoria Legal Aid to highlight the importance of insurance for residents in high-bushfire risk areas.
With a COVID-safe plan in place, the community clean-up was held from Saturday 31 October to Tuesday 3 November. Lunch was safely provided to participants on the Saturday and Sunday at multiple local venues.
An estimated 50 properties participated in the event and free green waste collection was made available with the support of Safer Together and CFA Vegetation Management. The lunches were a great opportunity for residents to reconnect after many months of isolation. Residents were also encouraged to request and offer assistance, with several community members volunteering their time and resources to help their neighbours.
Important connections were forged and strengthened over the course of the weekend. In addition to property preparation, community relationships are essential in building resilience to any hazard or emergency event.
While this event was certainly a team event, special thanks go to Theo Van Der Meulen from Latrobe Valley Camera Club who volunteered his time and skills on Saturday to help capture the initiative. Thanks also to the CFA volunteers who maintained safety during burn-offs that happened over the course of the clean-up.
And finally, the biggest thank you of all goes to the community members who offered assistance to others and to all those who participated, attended the lunches and helped make this event such a success.