Mudgegonga, Barwidgee residents get UHF radios

Mudgegonga and Barwidgee communities will have ‘peace of mind’ during fire season according to Secretary of Mudgegonga and District Landcare Cindy Lucas.

Every residence within the two localities has access to its own UHF radio as a part of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) Emergency Communication Network Project.

The radio network aims to provide a reliable two way communication service in an emergency between the CFA and the community. It will enable communication despite limited mobile phone coverage and will not be reliant on the landline service or on power supply.

“The main intention is to provide for the quick transfer of relevant information,” she said.

“This enables resources to be utilized more efficiently and ensures that the safety of everyone in the community is paramount. It is also intended to provide additional support, a sense of security and reduce stress. All radios are supplied with a car charger, or have battery back up, in case of a lengthy loss of power.”

The FRRR Emergency Communication Network Project will divide the Mudgegonga district in to five hubs. The five hubs have the following

  • A coordinator
  • A base station which is located at a property with someone generally in attendance full time
  • Approximately 20 residences

The coordinator’s responsibilities include

  • Communicating with residents about their plans (stay/go, fire fighting capability, extra people at their home) within their hub on days of fire danger.
  • Relaying information to the CFA
  • Relaying information from the CFA to members of their hub

Individual hub meetings are planned to be held before next fire season. Mrs Lucas said there had been a positive reaction to the radio network so far

“The feedback from residents that have collected their radios has been extremely positive,” she said.

“Many of the older residents in particular are very grateful for the peace of mind that this system will hopefully provide.”

Two distribution sessions were recently held at the Mudgegonga Hall with 70 out of 120 radios already handed out to locals.

The FRRR Emergency Communication Network Project has been under development since October last year. A grant for $29,700 was approved by the FRRR in December 2009, with the project being supported by a donation received by the Jack and Robert Smorgan Families Foundation.

President Mudgegonga and District Landcare Loretta Carroll, Dederang CFA Captain Doug Connors and Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority Chair Christine Nixon with a UHF radio at Rosewhite Hall on 23 June 2010.

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