While May 6 ended with 2017 National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day events in Hawaii, it began in the Western Australia town of Balingup, as their fire station hosted their first Fire Protection Expo in conjunction with the day.
I caught up with Peta Townsing, expo coordinator and lead for the grassroots Firewise W Australia group, about the expo.
Peta shared that, “All sorts of activities took place. We had fire drills by local primary school children, displays, talks on prescribed burning and landscaping for bushfire, demonstrations of using fire extinguishers, a short excursion to some nearby bush to point out how to undertake winter burning, and lots more…”
Peta explained to me that, “Balingup is one of a number of small towns in the South West of Western Australia. We have a Mediterranean climate with long hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. It was still dry when we held the Expo so we had to be careful with fires - though at least we did have plenty of firefighting equipment at hand! Most of the South West is bushfire prone.”
Turnout was strong for the event, especially amongst new residents. Peta highlighted that, “At the talks we had 40 to 50 people attend with additional people coming and going through the afternoon….some, I know, were recently arrived in the area and were very keen to know more about what they could do to reduce their fire risk, so it was good to see them.”
Whether in your own community, or around the world, events like these help to build resident understanding of the wildfire risk, bring neighbors together, and show the positive role they can play in preparedness.
We applaud the work of the Balingup Bush Fire Brigade, Firewise W Australia, and the residents of Balingup who are not only learning how to reduce their risks to wildfire, but making a difference in their community.
You can see additional pictures from the event on their Facebook page.
Photo Credits: Fire Protection Expo - Balingup - Home | Facebook