Professor John Handmer has been awarded the Bushfire CRC Special Recognition Award for 2010 for his timely research work in the wake of the Black Saturday bushfires.
The award was presented to Professor Handmer at the recent AFAC and Bushfire CRC conference in Darwin by Gary Morgan, CEO of the Bushfire CRC.
Professor Handmer is a Principal Scientific Adviser at the Bushfire CRC and the Program Leader of the Safe Prevention, Preparation and Suppression program since 2003. He is also the Director of Centre for Risk and Community Safety at RMIT University.
Professor Handmer was a leading researcher and adviser to the Bushfire CRC Research Taskforce immediately after the Black Saturday fires. He led the social science component of the Taskforce that looked into the human behaviour of the community – how people prepared, how they reacted, and how they were dealing with the recovery. More than 600 residents were surveyed face to face; a further 1100 completed written surveys.
During the subsequent Royal Commission, Professor Handmer was an expert witness and was requested by the Royal Commission to conduct several in-depth analyses that directly contributed to the final deliberations.