REGIONAL Victorians in bushfire-prone areas have been encouraged to upskill in a bid to stay safe this bushfire season.
CFA Deputy Chief Officer Gregg Paterson reminded not only those who live in bushfire areas, but also those who work and travel into such areas to prepare.
In the two years since CFA launched its online learning course, Bushfire Safety for Workers, in October 2018, more than 6200 people have completed the course.
"It's quite a milestone considering we were initially aiming for a target of 500 people in the first year, but we'd always like more people to learn about bushfire behaviour so they can keep themselves safe," Mr Paterson said.
Bushfire Safety for Workers was the first public-facing module on CFA's Learning Hub, and is designed to help workers with their own bushfire safety while working and travelling in bushfire-prone areas.
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"Being available online means it can be accessed any time as long as you have an internet connection, which has improved accessibility and reach to people who work in high-risk areas," Mr Paterson said.
"Learning about bushfire risk is important to all Victorians, whether they live in the city, the suburbs, or the country.
"Given the current situation with COVID-19 and the need to engage with people more online, it has been incredibly beneficial to have this e-learning module available."
Mr Paterson said the module had been very well received by course participants.
"Incredibly, more than 90% of people who completed our evaluation said they would recommend it, that they understood how to apply the information, and that they'd be confident in applying it in their roles," he said.
"I think a key factor is that it has been designed to be interactive to keep the learner engaged. It includes scenarios, videos and interactive content. It is not just slabs of text with a few questions, it is engaging and really gets you thinking.
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"We would like to think that it will help save lives if it hasn't already."
Environment Protection Authority Victoria's Nick Symons said the organisation was incorporating the module as mandatory training for personnel in field based emergency management roles.
"The risk of bushfire is very real to those staff so it's important they have this online module to gain an understanding of the risks, be able to assess those risks, and then make the right decisions to keep themselves safe," he said.
The Bushfire Safety for Workers course is divided into four sections; one about bushfire behaviour and environment, one about bushfire warnings, one about how to be prepared on the road, and the final one about being caught at a property.
It takes about 45 minutes plus a short registration process which can be undertaken online at https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/bushfire-safety-for-workers.