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Taroona engagement – lessons learnt

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Taroona engagement – lessons learnt

The Taroona Volunteer Fire Brigade was recently invited to present at the southern 2021 Community Engagement Workshop and talk about our experiences with lower case sessions and the lessons we learnt.

In 2020 the brigade ran three pop-up sessions over three weeks at various locations around the Taroona area. The week before our first session we had Selina, the southern Community Development Officer, run a refresher session for the crew with topics about property preparedness, Alerts and Warnings and the local Community Protection Plan. This got everyone up to speed with their bushfire knowledge.

Our lessons learnt and points to consider when running a pop-up session:

Check out the intended area and consider factors like parking, traffic volume and room to put up a small display where people could walk around safely.

  • Timing – we chose Tuesday evenings, our training night, from 6pm to 7pm and during the daylight-saving period. We also figured that most people would be available around this time.
  • Advertising – this is very important and must be planned out. This will ensure you will get decent numbers turning up to your discussions. How did we go about it? We tapped into the local community group via Facebook and left a message every week to ensure we were always near the top of the page. Our notices informed the public of our sessions and where and when they were going to be held.
  • We borrowed banners from the TFS. They were placed near where our event was going to be held, usually sited on the day of the event and in the morning.
  • We used corflute signs and located them around high- volume traffic areas like dog parks and playgrounds.
  • Letter-boxing was used with DL sized leaflets (8.5”x3.9”). Use this size because it makes slotting the leaflet into a letterbox efficient.
  • Letter-boxing was done a couple of days before each session, concentrating on the areas where the sessions were going to be held. The local politician was more than happy to print them up. Taroona needed 1,400 leaflets.

In conclusion we had over 200 people turn up to our sessions and the feedback we received was very positive.

Stephen Watchorn
First Officer Taroona Volunteer Fire Brigade

Friday, July 9, 2021