Playing out the hypothetical scenario of a fast-moving fire impacting on areas within the Hume municipality, including the Melbourne Airport, more than 100 participants and audience members, discussed how they would prepare and respond to such an incident.
Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley attended the exercise, which is one of eight being held across the state as part of emergency services’ pre-season preparation ahead of 2011/2012 summer fire season.
“This year, each exercise provides a locally-based fire scenario and takes agencies, government departments, the community and emergency broadcasters through the emergency management arrangements in place in the lead up to and during a large-scale fire,” Mr Lapsley said.
“An important aim of this project is to involve the community, emergency broadcasters and volunteers, raising their awareness of emergency procedures and gaining a greater understanding of their needs, in turn, improving our procedures and performance.”
The eight exercises, called Project Belenus, are part of a new three-year training program designed to improve capacity and capability in the fire services. The Northern and Western Metropolitan Region exercise was labelled, Exercise Fire Burn Country - Ween Nang-goun Biik.
“This program addresses one of the main recommendations of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission which was for agencies to train together and prepare for major incidents,” Mr Lapsley said.
CFA Northern and Western Metropolitan Region Acting Regional Commander Mick Harris said it was important for the emergency services within the region to exercise together and to understand and work within the state’s Emergency Management Arrangements.
“The aim is to ensure we provide the most effective delivery of services to the community,” he said.
“We want to encourage emergency service agencies to work in partnership with their communities as an integrated and unified team in managing fire and other emergencies across Victoria.
“It is vitally important that people who work and train together have a strong relationship before an emergency occurs and nominated community members have been invited to take part.”
Department of Sustainability and Environment, Country Fire Authority, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, as well as partner agencies Ambulance Victoria, VicSES, and Victoria Police were all involved in the multi-agency exercise.