Introducing Some CRC Publications

The Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC creates a number of research publications and we’ll look at a couple in this post.

Who are they you might ask. This from their website:

The focus of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC reflects the impact of natural hazards on the Australian community and the need for emergency services, land managers, all levels of government and the private sector to understand a range of hazards more thoroughly.

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is conducting coordinated and interdisciplinary research. This includes working with communities to improve disaster resilience and reduce the human, social, economic and environmental costs from bushfires and other natural hazards.

Seasonal Bushfire Outlook

Every quarter the CRC produces a seasonal bushfire outlook. The current one is for the period September to December. In addition to the overall outlook for the whole country a detailed outlook is provided for each state. These are the comments for NSW:

Large parts of NSW have experienced welcome rain over the last six months, reducing soil moisture deficits for much of the state. However, long-term rainfall deficiencies are still significant in the north and west. In particular, dry sub soil conditions on the northern ranges are of concern.
These areas are being monitored closely. With a La Niña ALERT current, the rainfall outlook appears favourable for much of the state. Whilst the bushfire outlook on the balance of the forecast is normal for NSW for the outlook period, there is a need to monitor for escalation to fire danger associated with windy weather events that can often present during this period. These windy conditions can be a risk regardless of the temperature
where grass has been cured by frosts.
The grass fire risk will continue to be monitored on and west of the Divide over coming months. Recent and forecast rain, combined with warmer than average minimum temperatures, may provide ideal growing conditions for cropping and grassland areas. This spring growth has the potential to increase grass and crop fuel loads as it dries through summer, and this will be monitored closely. Higher grass fuel loads can increase fire danger by increasing the intensity of grass fires. All other factors being equal, this increase of the intensity makes the grass fires hotter, more dangerous and harder to extinguish. Where weather permits, NSW fire and land management agencies will continue to undertake hazard reduction activities in the coming months.

You can view the entire document here or download it below.

The ABC’s of Volunteer Retention

The bulk of the training load falls on to brigades and if those brigades fail to retain their new volunteers then the training workload will grow and the capability of the brigade to function efficiently will be diminished. In a small community the ability to recruit fresh volunteers will also be dininished.

The CRC research findings show that satisfaction of basic
psychological needs (autonomy, belongingness and competence) has a positive effect on volunteer role satisfaction and wellbeing,
and reduces volunteers’ intentions to leave the service. Volunteers reported feeling high levels of competence and belongingness, but lower levels of autonomy in their roles. Autonomy and belongingness were found to
be the more significant drivers of retention, rather than competence. There were also significant differences found between genders and volunteering role types. Women reported feeling less competent compared to men, and
non-managers felt less competent and less connected with others compared to managers.

There is lots of good advice in the document. For example the suggestions to improve belongingness include:

  • Pairing new recruits in a buddy system allowing newcomers to have shared experiences together.
  • Pairing newcomers with mentors will also help foster bonding and team cohesion, as it encourages older and newer volunteers to mix.
  • An inclusive unit environment can also help improve social connectedness.
  • Allowing volunteers to speak up and contribute in decision-making processes within the unit will help them feel like their input is valued.
  • Social functions involving volunteers and their families might encourage a sense of camaraderie and community within the unit.

There are recommendations from improving autonomy and competence in this well written paper.

You can view the entire document here or download it below.

The Roles of Pharmacists in Disasters

An interesting piece of research which found that pharmacists can
undertake 43 different roles, during and following disasters, and that these roles span four practice areas – public health, patient care, governance, and logistics (see Figure 1, page one). These roles are not in substitution to those of other healthcare professionals, but an additional resource to assist communities during disasters.

You can view the entire document here or download it below.

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