Residents in bushfire affected communities have welcomed an online TAFE NSW course aimed at equipping school leavers aged 16 to 24 with the skills they need to support communities and fire agencies protect rural land and assets from deadly wildfires.
The TAFE NSW course in Basic Wildfire Awareness is the minimum qualification for personnel who support firefighters on the frontline. Those working in roles with local council, police or ambulance services, wildlife carers, media liaisons, first aid officers, utility company employees and campground hosts all benefit from this specialist program of learning.
The short course can be studied fee-free for eligible students and comes as communities continue to recover from the 2019/20 catastrophic Black Summer bushfires, which killed 33 people, destroyed more than 3000 homes, tore through more than 17million hectares of land, and cost the Australian economy more than $100billion.
TAFE NSW National Centre for Emergency Management Studies leader Alex McFadden said the accredited course plays an important part in making sure support workers had essential training to keep them safe.
"Firefighters complete specialist training to prepare them to tackle a bushfire safely. But firefighters aren't the only ones working to look after communities," Miss McFadden said.
"During the 2019/20 bushfires, we saw many people working in support of fire agencies. Those in evacuation centres, driving heavy machinery or looking after injured wildlife all need basic fire safety training too.
"This training is recognised by fire agencies and is the first step to making sure workers can identify key risks and take the necessary precautions to keep themselves safe when they are focused on the safety of others."
Students will complete five hours of online course work and one hour of assessment, all self-paced.
Modules include safe work practices; Indigenous cultural burning traditions; bushfire behaviour; bushfire survival techniques; and communications and briefings.
The course, endorsed by the Australian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council, is delivered by a range of trainers with experience in emergency services.
To find out more, phone 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au/summerskills.