Pre­pare your home now

Benalla Ensign - - News -

The Vic­to­rian Govern­ment is urg­ing Be­nalla lo­cals to pre­pare early for the up­com­ing fire sea­son, by talk­ing to fam­ily and friends and de­vel­op­ing a com­pre­hen­sive fire plan.

Warmer and drier-thanaver­age con­di­tions sug­gest this Vic­to­rian fire sea­son is likely to start ear­lier and be more ac­tive than usual.

State Mem­ber for North­ern Vic­to­ria Ja­clyn Symes said Fire Ac­tion Week pro­vided a prompt to speak to fam­ily, friends and neigh­bours about what to do on hot, dry and windy days, in­clud­ing when to leave and where to go to stay safe.

Ms Symes said fire agen­cies had started their prepa­ra­tions ear­lier this year be­cause of pre­vail­ing weather and cli­mate condi- tions, and all Vic­to­ri­ans are be­ing asked to do the same.

Fire Ac­tion Week is the per­fect time to pre­pare your prop­erty for the sum­mer, by tak­ing sim­ple steps such as:

cut­ting grass to less than 10 cm;

re­mov­ing flammable items from decks and ve­ran­das be­fore days of height­ened fire dan­ger;

us­ing peb­bles or rocks in your gar­den, not flammable mulch;

keep­ing gut­ters clear of leaves; and

dis­pos­ing of dry grass, leaves, twigs and loose bark from around your home and prop­erty.

‘‘As a home owner in a fire-prone area I know the im­por­tance of bush­fire pre­pared­ness and now is the time to take ac­tion and en­sure you are ready for

●●●●●what is fore­cast to be a long, hot sum­mer,’’ Ms Symes said.

‘‘Our emer­gency man­age­ment per­son­nel have started their prepa­ra­tions, so it’s now up to all Vic­to­ri­ans to un­der­stand their lo­cal fire risk and de­velop a fire plan.

‘‘There are some sim­ple steps you can take right now, such as down­load­ing the VicEmer­gency App and do­ing some ba­sic jobs around the home, in­clud­ing trim­ming grass and clear­ing gut­ters.’’ Ms Symes said peo­ple should check the Fire Dan­ger Rat­ing for their area ev­ery day, and know which rat­ing was the trig­ger to en­act their plan.

If the Fire Dan­ger Rat­ing is Code Red, Ex­treme or Se­vere, you are risk­ing lives if you wait and see what hap­pens. Leav­ing early is al­ways the safest op­tion to pro­tect you and your fam­ily.

Vic­to­ri­ans can stay up-to­date with emer­gency warn­ings by tun­ing into

●Ma­ture trees

Vic­to­ria’s emer­gency broad­cast­ers, phon­ing the VicEmer­gency hot­line on 1800 226 226, vis­it­ing emer­gency.vic.gov.au and down­load­ing the VicEmer­gen­cyApp. Ma­ture trees can help shield against ra­di­ant heat and em­bers. They must be strate­gi­cally lo­cated and well man­aged. Re­move Flammables Re­move flammable items from decks and ve­ran­dahs, such as boxes, fur­ni­ture and door­mats.

Keep grass short

Keep grass cut to less than 10 cm. Fire can ig­nite and travel quickly through long grass.

Wood­piles

Keep wood­piles away from the house. Stray fire em­bers can eas­ily ig­nite wood­piles.

Store flammables

Store flammable liq­uids away from house. Where pos­si­ble, store in flame-proof con­tain­ers.

Leaves and twigs

Get rid of dry grass, leaves, twigs and loose bark.

Prune shrubs

Prune lower branches of shrubs to sep­a­rate from sur­face fu­els un­der­neath.

Prune shrubs well away from branches of ma­ture trees

●●Cut back branches

Cut back over­hang­ing tree branches close to prop­erty — no branches in 10m space.

Gar­den beds

Do not have large shrubs next to or un­der win­dows.

Peb­bles and rocks

Use peb­bles and rocks in your gar­den (not flammable mulch).

Roof gut­ters

Keep gut­ters and roof ar­eas clear of leaf lit­ter.

Peb­bles and rocks are bet­ter than flammable mulch.

Keep gut­ters clean and clear.

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