Australia — The Mongarlowe Volunteer Bushfire Brigades workshop on bushfire preparedness for women on Sunday 6 March was enthusiastically supported by nearly 30 participants. The keynote speaker, Jenny Filmer OAM, presented a lively talk, When the Fire Comes to You, which covered a wide range of topics including communication strategies, equipping a household for fire and dealing with children and pets. Who could forget her story of bringing the pony into the house to protect it from fire? Jenny is an experienced volunteer firefighter and community educator, well known for her womens workshops, and author of Fire Fighting for Non Fire Fighting Women. She donated 2 copies of her book, which were given as lucky door prizes.
Jennys talk was preceded by a short film, The Story of the Tenterden Fire, which documents the experiences of 5 women on different properties in a rural area of Western Australia, during severe fires in 2003.
Sandra Hand, from Farringdon Brigade, gave a presentation how to prepare a fire plan. Gail Nichols, from Mongarlowe Brigade, led a session on preparing and equipping properties for bushfire.
A highlight of the day, following the barbeque lunch, was the Firefighting Fashion Parade, during which Di Bott and Vera Sapov modelled examples of what to wear and not to wear when dealing with bushfire.
The afternoon concluded with demonstrations of fire pump operation, and all participants had hands-on experience at starting and running pumps.
Participants gave enthusiastic feedback. It was clear the workshop had fulfilled a need in the community. Thanks to Mongarlowe Brigade members for their efforts in staging the workshop, to Jenny Filmer, Sandra Hand and officers from the RFS Lake George Zone who attended.