ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

B SAFE - Blue Mountains Sustainable Approaches to Fire and Emergencies

A Community Action Model Building Resilience, Improving Preparednessand Enhancing Self Responsibility (2015-2016)


Ministry of Police & Emergency Services' Community Resilience Innovation Program. Total value $88,867, CSU sub-contract $63,847


Dr Val Ingham & Dr Sarah Redshaw


This project, awarded to the Katoomba Neighbourhood Centre with CSU subcontracted to deliver the majority of the project, was a collaborative research project with The Blue Mountains and Lithgow Integrated Neighbourhood Network. Its aim was to help households become better prepared in the wake of the 2013 bushfires in the lower Blue Mountains. The project drew on the findings from the Community Connections, older and vulnerable community members – identifying, exploring and addressing community needs within the Blue Mountains, (2014-2015) project.Bsafe photo

In 2015 three fire awareness programs delivered in various Blue Mountain communities were monitored to identify the type of people attracted to each program and the number of people who subsequently put fire preparedness plans in place. They were the Meet Your Street program (a 'ground-breaker' aiming to raise neighbourhood awareness of the need for preparedness activities); the More Than a Fire Plan (an informative workshop seminar focused on changing behaviours); and Heads Up For Fire (HUFF) program (which requires a committed local resident from a specific area to facilitate connections between residents, emergency services, local community groups and Neighbourhood Centres).  As each program proved effective in its own way, each is featured in the final B SAFE report which contains various tools to collect data, engage community groups and improve community discussions.

The B SAFE research has:

  • Reviewed the existing preparedness programs
  • Analysed the participants and partner agency responses to and evaluations of each program
  • Synthesised the best approaches from the identified successful components of each program and the resonant household narratives
  • Built the exemplar model based on adaptability and transferability to other areas and community sustainability
  • Developed tools for and indicators of improved community resilience, capacity and engagement, risk mitigation and household preparedness in the context of natural disaster and emergency 


Redshaw, S., Ingham, V., Harrison, K., & Quigley, T. (2016) BSafe Blue Mountains Sustainable Approaches to Fire and Emergencies A Community Action Model to build resilience, improve preparedness and enhance self-responsibility Research Partners.  pdf

The Get Ready! Guide : A practical guide for the Blue Mountains community Sector to Prepare for Emergencies pdf  (prepared by a member of BLINN)


The B SAFE research has resulted in the development of a Community Action Framework, available through the NSW Government for other communities prone to bushfires and other natural emergencies. Both the report and the guide provide a model, with tools, to help communities and the community sector prepare for emergencies. Other expected outcomes are:

  • Enhanced overall resilience and community capacity related to disaster management and emergency preparedness
  • Knowledge of vulnerable community members and their specific needs related to preparedness and their ability to respond in times of natural disaster and/ or emergency
  • Clear role and function of community sector services
  • A strong replicable model of community preparedness and realistic community expectation related to disaster and emergency response and service agency capability


Dr Val Ingham,
Senior lecturer in Emergency Management,
Australian Graduate School of Policing & Security


July 2016