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Firey Women program teaches life-saving skills

Port Lincoln CFS
Melissa Smith

The Eyre Peninsula’s devastating Black Tuesday bushfire which claimed the lives of nine people and left a trail of destruction in the Wangary district in 2005, has led to the SA Country Fire Service’s (CFS) development of the Fiery Women Program.

Research into the bushfire, which at the time was the worst bushfire in SA since Ash Wednesday in 1983, revealed women and children were over-represented in the fatalities and that women were at higher risk during a bushfire.

According to the research, this was due to many household members with firefighting skills – generally men – being away from home on the day of the fires, with many women at home caring for family, animals and property without the skills or knowledge to adequately protect themselves and those in their care.

As a result of the findings, Firey Women Workshops offer a safe and inclusive environment where women can gain essential skills to protect their families and livelihoods.

Designed to span either two full days or four evenings, the primary mission is to enable women to take proactive steps in safeguarding themselves, their loved ones, and their communities from the devastating impacts of bushfires.

The content of the workshops is designed to cover a wide range of essential topics, including:

Understanding Bushfire Behaviour: How bushfires behave, anticipating and responding effectively.

Deciphering Fire Danger Ratings and Warnings: Interpreting fire danger ratings and bushfire warnings, helping to make informed decisions.

Decision-Making Strategies: Exploring the critical choices between ‘leave early’ and ‘actively stay and defend,’ empowering participants to make the right call in high-pressure situations.

Creating a Bushfire Survival Plan: Providing guidance on designing a comprehensive Bushfire Survival Plan tailored to individual needs and circumstances.

Emotional and Physical Preparedness: Offering insights into the emotional and physical preparations necessary to navigate bushfire emergencies.

Injury Prevention: Teaching strategies to minimize the risk of injury during bushfire incidents.

Survival Kit Assembly: How to assemble essential survival kits that can make a significant difference in times of crisis.

Identifying Hazards: Educating participants about potential hazards around their homes and neighbourhoods.

Equipment Operation: Providing hands-on training on the operation of pumps and firefighting equipment.

The Firey Women Workshops are free and recognise that women play a pivotal role in protecting their families and communities, and is aimed to help provide them with the tools and knowledge they need to do so effectively.

The next Firey Women Workshop will be held at Summertown in the Adelaide Hills on September 10, 2023.

For more information or to organise a “Firey Women’s Workshop” in your area click here.


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