Effective Communication: Communities and Bushfire

Fairbrother, P, Mees, B, Tyler, M, Phillips, R, Akama, Y, Toh, K, Cooper, V and Chaplin, S 2014, Effective Communication: Communities and Bushfire, Centre for Sustainable Organisations and Work, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia


Document type: Commissioned Reports
Collection: Commissioned Reports

Title of report Effective Communication: Communities and Bushfire
Author(s) Fairbrother, P
Mees, B
Tyler, M
Phillips, R
Akama, Y
Toh, K
Cooper, V
Chaplin, S
Year of publication 2014
Publisher Centre for Sustainable Organisations and Work, RMIT University
Place of publication Melbourne, Australia
Subjects Environmental Sociology
Abstract/Summary The context of the project is the increasing bushfire risks resulting from rapid climate, socio-economic and demographic change, especially in peri-urban and rural communities.This project generates critical knowledge and theory of effective strategies and options for communication in bushfire risk communities as well as providing an understanding of the bases of community mobilisation around risk. It has designed, developed and tested tools to enable effective communication strategies for optimising community safety. The analytic focus of this research examines the intersection between communities and bushfire authorities and agencies, with reference to the forms, media and processes of communication. It has identified strengths, shortcomings and complexities in communication as well as examining the salience of formal and informal relationships and their dynamics within communities and community networks. Education and capacity building strategies were assessed in terms of identifying and exploring the ways that organisations can optimise the relevance, quality and timeliness of information they provide, the modes of dissemination they employ, and enhance the willingness and capacity of people to hear, understand and act on safety messages. The project comprises focused case study research within selected communities in four states. Utilising ethnographic type research techniques the research focused on the intersection between authorities, agencies and community groups. The project developed and tested a comprehensive suite of strategies for evaluating the broad range of bushfire community safety communication programs in Australia. It highlights (i) an approach that has the potential to lead to a comprehensive and sound evidence base for identifying which strategies work best and why, for whom and in what settings; and (ii) the provision of a consultative and collaborative approach to working with authorities, agencies and the community.
Commissioning body Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre
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