New collection on community safety research
Australia is at the forefront of research on community bushfire safety and resilience according to a new book. Community Bushfire Safety brings together in one comprehensive volume the results of the most important community safety research being undertaken within the Australian Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre.
Using perspectives derived from social science, economics and law, Community Bushfire Safety supports the increasing emphasis on community self-reliance and the vital role it plays in bushfire management.
Co-editor Professor John Handmer, Bushfire CRC Program Leader, said this was an effective approach in dealing with bushfires. Professor Handmer is an Innovation Professor at RMIT University and holds Adjunct Professor positions at Macquarie University’s Risk Frontiers, the Flood Hazard Research Centre at Middlesex University and at the Australian National University.
“Communities in other parts of the world, in particular the United States and in southern Europe, have a very different relationship with bushfires. In Australia, we know that a community safety and resilience approach saves lives and property, and ultimately saves the community money, because the evidence and the research have shown this to be true,” said Professor Handmer.
“There is a growing understanding in Australia that to effectively deal with the bushfire threat people living in bushfire zones must share the risk with the fire agencies. They must be self-reliant, prepared and informed. The book is all about the research that underpins that approach.”
“We know this approach works because most of our research published in this book has been conducted around the extreme bushfire events of recent years, including the alpine a
nd Canberra fires of 2003 and the Eyre Peninsula fires in South Australia in 2005.”
The chairman of the Bushfire CRC, Mr Len Foster, said the book provided the research evidence for all aspects of community bushfire safety that support the public campaigns of fire agencies around Australia each bushfire season. “This book will be of interest to anyone involved in preparing communities before a bushfire, dealing with communities during a bushfire and assisting communities to rebuild once the bushfire has gone,” said Mr Foster.
Chapters cover issues such as preparing the home, preventing arson, understanding the value of local knowledge, and communicating with the media and directly to the public. It also tackles the broader issues like how an increasingly warming world will create the conditions for more severe bushfires and the implications this has for communities that are expanding into bushfire zones.
The book is a product of research out of Bushfire CRC Program C: Community Self-Sufficiency for Fire Safety. It is co-edited by Program Leader Prof John Handmer and Katharine Haynes.
Community Bushfire Safety was launched at the Metropole Hotel in Melbourne.
Community Bushfire Safety is published by CSIRO Publishing. Order online at www.publish.csiro.au