Kinglake resident and bushfire survivor, Vicki Ruhr, wishes to express her concern at what is reportedly a ‘terrifying and graphic’ bushfire advertising campaign to be run by the Victorian Government.

Family Scrambling, Panicking, Dying

The Herald-Sun and Melbourne Talk Radio MTR have reported on a graphic advertising campaign ahead of the approaching bushfire season that nominally commences Thursday, 1 December.

The campaign, it seems, depicts a family:

‘scrambling, then panicking, as a blaze consumes their home, killing everyone inside’.

Survivor Reaction

When contacted by MTR about the campaign, Vicki says her husband Cris became quite distressed and was unable to speak about it. She says Counsellors and Service providers are already stretched to their limit, at times barely managing survivors’ needs and trauma.

Vicki chose to speak with MTR Announcer Steve Price, despite also being upset, to express her regret about the Campaign and the potential detriment to the local community’s psychological wellbeing and their recovery.

She has since received telephone calls and text messages from local residents and Bushfire Recovery workers expressing similar concerns.

Warnings About The ‘Ads’

Apparently there will be warnings issued prior to the ‘ads’ being screened.

To the best of Vicki’s knowledge there has been no general consultation or proper consideration surrounding the unknown and potentially deleterious psychological effects this Campaign could have on numbers of (unsuspecting) bushfire-affected people.

It appears that the local Shire (Murrindindi), Kinglake Ranges Community Recovery (Resilience) Committee, Service Providers &/or Bushfire Recovery Organisations, for example Austin Health Bushfire Trauma Treatment, have not been consulted or contacted to date in relation to this Campaign.

Current Situation

Vicki, who works closely with her community, says families have ‘still-raw wounds’. She is aware that many have moved away from the bushfire impacted areas as a direct consequence of their tragic experience.

It is reported that some bushfire affected people who have not received or engaged in any level of support are widespread in the local community.

Unsuspectingly being confronted with a graphic recount of Black Saturday events may result in disastrous consequences for some.

Better Use Of Available Monies?

Vicki urges the State Government to explore better use of available monies: for example:

  • the CFA has long encountered challenges with community engagement and education
  • creative and empowering, community-led solutions could be explored and better resourced with comparable funding
  • increase numbers of Community Liaison / Development / Place-Based staff employed by the CFA

An Oversight In Judgement?

With sensitive dates looming for everyone affected by the 7 February 2009 Disaster, Vickic is concerned that there has been an oversight in judgement by the State Government regarding the consultation process and timing of this Campaign.

Contact Vicki

You can ring Vicki’s Mobile: 0488 978 033 or email her

What can be done?

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