“It’s shiny, it’s visual, it’s live, it’s interactive. When we go out there with antiquated equipment, we just don’t get the same response. People really appreciate dealing with the latest technology,” says Andrew.
Offering bushfire advice to homes in the Hume region, Andrew is on the road three or four days a week covering a large area that extends from Corryong to Nathalia and down to Wallan. He typically has around 40 bookings in his diary at all times and is aiming to complete around 180 advice visits this year.
Travelling around for three days earlier this month with the District 22 iPad, Andrew was impressed with how easy it was to convey fire safety information to householders using such a visual tool.
“If someone asks me a question, I can double check information really quickly on the iPad, as well as look up relevant Township Protection Plans and easily find emergency broadcasters. It’s a great way to encourage the community to use CFA’s online resources, and I don’t have to print reams of paper before I arrive at people’s homes.
“Showing our new online plant selection tool via the device has been really well received - it was even able to solve a husband and wife dispute about how fire safe their conifer was!”
As well as educating householders on the fire safety of their property, Andrew has found the iPad to be very effective for showing people their fire weather districts and explaining fire danger ratings.
“It’s been great to show people their fire weather districts. People haven’t been able to get their heads around four-day forecasting, but when you show them, they really understand how the FDR can be your trigger to act – it’s just like watching the penny drop.”
Moving forward, Andrew hopes the devices will be more widely available, especially during the busy fire season. Using technology that the community is already familiar with empowers them to make the most of CFA’s online resources and encourages them to go online and stay up to date.
To book a free home bushfire advice service, visit the CFA website.