Bushfires, barbeques and baguettes

Created date

Friday, August 3, 2012 - 12:17am

In early July I had the privilege of travelling with a Bushfire CRC and AFAC contingent to France as part of a collaborative research study tour. It was a great trip, meeting with a committed group of fire services personnel from the Bouches-du-Rhône Fire Brigade. We visited a number of fire stations, as well as their training facility.

Dr Claire Johnson and I undertook some research observations of the application of worst case scenario thinking to enhance communication during two Incident Management Team simulation exercises. Our visiting group used the simulations to demonstrate how AIIMS works and the importance placed on information to the community.

We also had the opportunity to observe a full-scale exercise that involved more than 200 firefighters, 80 vehicles and an impressive level of air attack on a simulated fire.

The hospitality we were shown was incredible. Each evening we were hosted by a different brigade, who showed us their centre and cooked for us. We ate amazingly well and played some reasonable petanque!

At the debrief a number of similarities and differences were discussed between the Australian/New Zealand and French approaches to incident management. Later this year we will have the opportunity of hosting a French delegation, and I look forward hope we are able to return the hospitality, and perhaps introduce them to the game of cricket!

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Christine Owen's picture
Project Leader