Bushfire Experience Prototype

Emerald Community House (ECH) is working in conjunction with Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) and other communities to test and explore the design and development of a community product that offers people an experience of a bushfire without having to go through a bushfire. Imagine you could get a sense of the smoke, wind, heat and sounds while following a typical family through their experience of bushfire and how that could help you make critical decisions before ever being threatened by a real fire!

Now is your chance to be involved, have your input and help us better understand your needs and whether this idea has a place in the community bushfire planning tool kit.

The testing involves a prototype of a realistic bushfire experience. The basic idea is to design and develop this with communities, and by involving real people in real testing, any design and decisions are informed by the needs, ideas, thoughts and experience of you, the people in communities who have to make decisions about the constant threat of bushfire every summer in Victorian communities.

We are offering 30 normal people in the community (that have not experienced bushfire as an emergency responder or manager) the opportunity to assist us to test this realistic bushfire experience. The sessions will offer you a real insight into a real bushfire – what actually happens during a bushfire, and test this as a tool to support the individual to make better and more informed decisions about bushfire preparedness and safety.

We are now seeking local community participants who fit these demographics:

  • Parent(s) working in the city with children in school in the hills
  • Small business owners in Emerald and surrounding townships
  • Volunteers from community groups
  • New families/single parents with young children or one parent away at work
  • Teenagers over 13

Please note that childcare can be provided at ECH if needed but you must request in advance.

We will be gathering input and feedback on your experience, whether such an idea delivers on a need and how it may help people with decision making in the future and for our community to be a central part of the experience design. This testing experience and exploratory discussion will last about 90 minutes. Participants will be wearing headphones for some of the time, while engaging and experiencing a scenario based on a real story. It can be experienced as dark and loud and challenging, just like a real fire may be. At any time, participants can choose not to be part of the testing by signaling to the facilitator that choice. Participation is entirely voluntary.

If you are interested in participating in the project, please provide your name, contact details (mobile and email address and the demographic you represent) to emhouse@iinet.net.au, ASAP.

As there are only 30 spaces available, it is important that you take your commitment to participate seriously and that you are available on Thursday, January 14 during either the morning (930-1100am), afternoon (100-230pm) or evening sessions (730-900pm). Please specify your preference. If we are oversubscribed, we will make a final decision based on the responses received and send you a confirmation by Jan 11, 2016.

This is indeed a very special opportunity to contribute to Victoria’s fire preparation for the future. Thank you for considering and volunteering to participate.

Mary Farrow, ECH Coordinator, 0403765314

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Bushfire experience prototype