Fire-proofing vulverable communities. The disaster risk reduction fund is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales Government.

Do you think a firefighter would know how to assist you? Yes and no. It depends on who is the person, if they have any experience.If they had to pick me up or move me, that the chair would have to come with me.
We need to know how to communicate with the firefightersCan I be one?

Fire Proofing Vulnerable Communities (FPVC)

AFDO has partnered with Fire & Rescue NSW to develop and deliver Fire Proofing Vulnerable Communities (FPVC).  This is a NSW state-wide, risk reduction, information and education initiative.

The FPVC has the following objectives:

  1. Building Capacity of people with disabilities to engage with fire and disaster risk reduction, and to improve their understanding and communication with firefighters and other emergency responders.
  2. Develop and deliver educational resources and training programs for emergency services staff in regional, rural, and metropolitan areas.
  3. Long-term reduction in the disproportionately high number of people with disabilities sustaining harm in fire events, such as house and bush fires.

The NSW Rural Fire Service is a resource delivery partner and the University of Sydney is the research and evaluation partner.

The project is funded under the Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (DRRF), which is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments.

The community focus groups are taking place in the following areas;

  • Sydney (Parramatta)
  • Hunter (Newcastle)
  • Illawarra (Wollongong)
  • Central West (Bathurst)
  • Orana (Dubbo)
  • Far West (Broken Hill)
  • South-East (Batemans Bay)
  • New England (Armidale)
  • North-West (Tamworth)
  • Central Coast (Erina)
  • North Coast (Balina)
  • Riverina (Albury)
  • Murray (Wagga Wagga)
  • Focus group for Deaf Community (TBA)

How we will deliver

The project will conduct focus groups in each of the 14 locations, facilitated by local disability organizations and Fire and Rescue NSW staff. These discussions will provide valuable input into improving disaster risk reduction information, assessing the accessibility and understandability of fire risk information, and understanding how people with disabilities want to engage with the information.

The University of Sydney will assess current fire safety educational materials and resources to ensure readability and understandability. Newly drafted information resources will be reviewed based on feedback from focus groups. Fire safety resources will be produced in multiple formats, co-developed with disability groups, and aimed at filling identified gaps.

Additionally, firefighter disability awareness training and resources will be developed, drawing on existing training programs, such as the P-CEP certificate course offered by the University of Sydney. The project will engage local stakeholders, including people with disabilities, disability organizations, service providers, FRNSW zone commanders, and local fire stations, to roll out fire safety initiatives in both pilot areas. Internal firefighter disability awareness training will be implemented within Fire and Rescue NSW and NSW Rural Fire Service, starting with the two pilot areas and later expanding to other regions.

For further information about Fire Proofing Vulnerable Communities contact

Ainslie Whitburn, Project Coordinator, or

Amber Freeman, Project Officer,

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