Project Story: Fire and Emergency Management Training

The Project Team includes Steve Sutton, Iolanthe Sutton, David Campbell, and Bev Sithole.

The “North Australian Fire and Emergency Management Training” held its first pilot at Malngyangarnak south of Maningrida in June.  Over 30 Bininj attended the pilot, including a number of Indigenous rangers from the region. The pilot presented modules on Leadership and Situational Awareness, GIS & Digital Mapping Tools and Applying Local Traditional Fire Management in the Modern Context.

ARPNet conducted an in-depth evaluation and recently provided that feedback to the project team. The feedback provided helpful advice about how to improve the training and make it even more relevant to local communities. It included: a requirement for more hands-on demonstrations of technical matters so that those who are not “computer savvy can understand’; less lecture-format presentations, particularly during the daytime; trainers should speak louder and repeat things as most people were hearing the information for the first time; and breaking the training up into target groups (e.g. women, men, rangers) so that some people do not feel left out. This information will be incorporated into the second pilot to be delivered in early 2018.

In general, taking the recommended improvements into account, the project was strongly endorsed by the community. They indicated that the project built capacity, strengthened traditional family ties, and was set up so there was no ‘elite’ or ‘jealousing’. The evaluation states that people want more; at least two rangers have sought further training through CDU as a direct result of attending the pilot and women who participated want to follow-up specifically with leadership training. Two senior Traditional Owners who attended have already volunteered their community and country for the next pilot.


Image: Fire and Emergency Management Training in Malngyangarnak