AN RMIT research team member will visit Koroit this week in a bid to increase awareness of the Country Fire Authority’s Victorian Bushfire Information Line.
RMIT University Centre for Sustainable Organisations and Work research fellow Keith Toh said the team was looking into how the services of the Victorian Bushfire Information Line could be delivered to meet the needs of households in different communities.
“An important part of this work is for me to gain a better understanding of individual localities, and I intend to base myself in Koroit this week,” he said.
Mr Toh said that during his stay he hoped to meet residents, as well as providers of local services, to find out how to improve the awareness and user expectations of the Victorian Bushfire Information Line.
He said Koroit had been identified as an area with a fairly unique rural and urban blend and his visit had nothing to do with a spate of deliberately lit fires in the area earlier this year.
“I’ll be hopefully speaking with about 75 people, including key service providers. We’re trying to learn lessons about how to promote awareness of the Victorian Bushfire Information Line,” he said.
“I’ve found people very receptive. They want to tell their stories but Koroit is not seen to be a bushfire prone area. It’s more prone to grass fires and the term, the bushfire information line, is not seen as being relevant to this area.
“That’s a very preliminary feeling. I need to take all the information I gather back, analyse it, and present findings to the CFA.”
The researcher said Koroit district residents, particularly farmers, appeared extremely well versed in relation to grass fires.
He said participation in his research involved one-hour interviews.
“We seek permission from participants for the interview to be recorded and topics we hope to cover are aspects of community in Koroit and expectations of the Victorian Bushfire Information Line,” Mr Toh said.
“We hope residents will tell us what they expect out of this service in order to make it successful. Interviews may take the form of an individual or group discussion,” he said.