After the February 2009 bushfires, the then Department of Sustainability and Environment responded quickly with a range of interventions to manage the immediate and longer-term impacts on staff in DSE and partner agencies who were either directly or indirectly involved in the fire effort.
This suite of actions was known collectively as the Staff Resilience Program.
Jen supported DSE in evaluating the Program to help managers understand its effectiveness, improve future resilience-building activities, and identify where DSE needed to focus its efforts in preparation for the next fire season.
During 2009 a series of 8 workshops were held around Victoria, both in response to the 0809 fire season and in preparation for the 0910 season. The workshops formed part of DSE’s Staff Resilience Program, and had three aims:
• To help staff understand the natural process of trauma as experienced by the community
• To help staff develop strategies to work with affected communities
• To build confidence that staff can engage well with people after a traumatic event and especially with anger
The workshops comprised two components:
• a practical session in which staff discussed and developed personal strategies to increase the effectiveness with which they engage with affected communities, followed by
• a presentation by Dr Rob Gordon entitled “Understanding the Community and Personal Impact of Emergency Work”.
Jen facilitated 6 of the 8 workshops.