Pre­pared­ness key to bush­fire safety

South Western Times - - Point Of View -

BUSH­FIRES are part of every Aus­tralian sum­mer and can have dev­as­tat­ing and lasting im­pacts on com­mu­ni­ties. Western Aus­tralia is prone to bush­fires and no mat­ter what the risk in our area, a fire can hap­pen any­where and at any time.

Last year Wa­roona, Har­vey and Yar­loop ex­pe­ri­enced a dev­as­tat­ing bush­fire which tore through more than 69,000ha, claimed two lives and de­stroyed more than 180 prop­er­ties.

So it should not take an “above nor­mal” fire po­ten­tial pre­dicted for parts of the State for res­i­dents to be pre­pared.

The re­al­ity is we need to be pre­pared every spring re­gard­less of the level of warn­ing is­sued.

Bun­bury City Coun­cil com­mu­nity safety emer­gency man­age­ment team leader Chris Wid­mer’s be­lief that we should bust the myth on the “it will never hap­pen to us” ex­cuse is a great mo­ti­va­tor in en­sur­ing we pre­pare.

We can’t con­trol the weather but there are cer­tain steps we can take to en­sure we have the best chance of sur­vival.

The De­part­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices re­peat­edly tells us how we can re­duce fuel loads and po­ten­tial fire dan­gers around the home, but it is equally as im­por­tant to come up with a sur­vival plan to en­sure the safety of our fam­ily and friends.

Dur­ing a bush­fire, we rely on many vol­un­teers and other emer­gency ser­vices who are busy, so di­alling 000 is not al­ways go­ing to be a so­lu­tion.

Sit down with your fam­ily and dis­cuss a safe place to meet in the case of sep­a­ra­tion and visit the de­part­ment’s web­site for ad­vice on how to pre­pare, act and sur­vive in the case of a bush­fire.

Prepa­ra­tions com­pleted now will go a long way to re­duc­ing the risk and sever­ity of fires over sum­mer.

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