The RFBAQ has been working closely with the Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services over the last 6 months on a joint project to rollout approximately 70 Fire Danger Rating (FDR) signs across Queensland for a cost of about $1 million.
The signs will be a joint initiative between the RFBAQ , QFES and Transport and Main Roads (TMR).
On Friday the 14th May the RFBAQ State Executive met in Cairns and voted to proceed with the proposal that would see $500,000 provided from the RFBAQ and $500,000 from the QFES.
The proposed signs will be updated daily with the Fire Danger Rating for the individual area. This will stop the need for someone physically updating each sign daily.
The community messaging function can also be updated locally through the use of an app and in times of community danger will be centrally controlled to provide a consistent message with local information.
In the development of the RFBAQ initiative the Association has spoken to a couple of Local Government Mayors to assess support for the project and an interest has been expressed for the ability to buy into the scheme. This would hopefully allow local governments to purchase signs that would be updated daily with the FDR by the Fire Service and allow the local government to use the community messaging section to advise of local community resilience-building opportunities outside of times of community danger.
It is also hoped that local Rural Fire Brigades can buy into the scheme and provide a local sign through the support of their local community.
The roll-out of this project is expected to be over 18 months as there are a number of steps that need to happen.
AFAC (Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council) is currently revising the segments on the Fire Danger Rating Signs. This will need to be completed before any signs are manufactured or erected.
Much of the Bushfire Royal Commission was focused on improving the accessibility of real time information to the community in times of bushfire and the RFBAQ believe that this is a solid step forward to delivering information not only for bushfire but also in times of cyclone or flood through the use of the community messaging component that is built into the signs.
TMR along with the QFES and the RFBAQ will assess suitable roadside sites that meet TMR requirements for safety and visibility as the signs are electronic and light up.
It is planned for the signs to go to areas of high traffic flow and where there is a high ongoing fire risk, across the whole of Qld. It is not envisioned to make a ‘fire service centric’ model that sees signs placed only outside of fire stations or only in the south east of Qld.
Included in the price for the 70 signs is the first 3 years access to the app and monthly access fee; with the ongoing cost of the app and monthly access fees to be borne by the QFES.
The RFBAQ would like to thank the Hon Mark Ryan MP, Member for Morayfield and Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services for immediately seeing the value in the RFBAQ proposal and for vigorously supporting it to the QFES.
Next step, now that the State Executive of the Association has voted for the project, is to meet with the Minister’s Office, QFES and TMR to map out the way forward.