Balmoral fire connect: a case study of social networks and the diffusion of bushfire preparedness information in a rural community.
Ensuring critical fire safety and preparedness information is disseminated to those most vulnerable to bushfire is a high priority for Victorian Emergency Services. Reaching those most at risk in bushfire prone communities relies heavily on an intricate understanding of the communities themselves. Balmoral Fire Connect uncovers the value of the existing networks of staff and the user-groups of the Balmoral Bush Nursing Centre (BBNC) in South West Victoria. This report examines the diffusion of information using social network analysis of four key staff at BBNC. Staff reported having limited capacity to become fire safety experts, however they have strong networks with clients and the community and can integrate informal prompts into everyday conversations about upcoming weather, safety and welfare. Additionally, using BBNC as a central hub, the flow of information from user-groups using a “pass the parcel” approach demonstrates a supplementary method whereby rural networks can add to the formal fire safety education available in the community.