“Industry As Neighbours” a brief history.

In January 2010 a business case was developed by Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) to source funding for the establishment of a new website “Industry As Neighbours”.

The business case was developed to find a better way of communicating to those in the community. In particular those who live near or are affected in some way by major hazard facilities that are located in the areas of Hobsons Bay, Altona and Maribyrnong in the event of any form of emergency.

The website is a portal for the local community, and enables them to keep informed with timely and targeted information. Local industry and councils also have the opportunity to distribute their newsletters and information through this subscription functionality.

It is envisaged that this model can be used by just about any community with similar needs.

The project involved extensive consultation through various focus groups. These groups were derived from a broad section of the community, including, Local Government Authorities, Industry Groups, Community Groups including the Metropolitan Fire Brigade internal departments.

It has also been seen as an industry success story, with many of the companies in the area working together to improve communication within and between the community.

Those that have assisted and are participating in the project include; FBT Transwest, Orica, Qenos, Dow Chemical, Caltex, Work Cover, Hobsons Bay City Council and Maribyrnong City Council.

The community members have the option to subscribe to “Industry As Neighbours” for updates and news on what is happening in their area.

The site will also allow them to view incidents as they happen on an interactive map, which will show Fires, Accidents, Alarms, Hazards, and Medical call outs being attended by the MFB.

It will also notify them if a “Community Warning” has been issued, which will advise the local community of what to do during the emergency.

Community members from both English and Non English Backgrounds will have access to important safety information. Currently there are 15 different languages supported. This information will enable them to implement the correct safety procedures needed in the case of an emergency.

It is envisaged that this website will grow to meet the needs of the community, with upgrades and enhancements continually being rolled out.