Spark a discussion about saving lives
THE PEAK body for Victoria’s 60,000 CFA volunteers is urging everyone to make time in the next week to talk with family and friends about fire and other emergencies in their community.
Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria ( VFBV) chief executive Andrew Ford said in light of the recent Fire Action Week, now is a valuable opportunity to pause and consider the potential peril we all face each summer.
“Fire Action Week is not only a great prompt for all Victorians to take some time to actively think about their particular fire risks and preparation, but also to make a point of talking about community-wide issues with their neighbours,” Mr Ford said.
“We want everyone in Victoria to find a CFA volunteer this week and talk to them about risk – not just around your property, but also in the community you share.
“The CFA model continues to serve Victoria very well as it has for many years.
“We have tens of thousands of highly skilled individuals who actively contribute to the safety and resilience of communities across Victoria, even when they are not active CFA members.
“Their local knowledge, wisdom and firefighting expertise is often unparalleled and one way to respect that is to genuinely consult with them and ask what you can do to help them protect Victoria.”
Warmer and drier-than-average conditions suggest the Victorian fire season is likely to start earlier than usual this year, and be more active than normal.
Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp said the week was a perfect opportunity for people 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.
Mr Gepp said fire agencies have started their preparations earlier this year due to prevailing weather and climate conditions, and all Victorians are being asked to do the same.
He said Fire Action Week was also the perfect time to prepare your property for the summer, by taking simple steps such as:
■ Cutting grass to less than 10cm.
‘ There are some simple steps you can take right now.’ — Mark Gepp
■ 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.
■ Disposing of dry grass, leaves, twigs and loose bark from around your home and property.
“Now is the time to take action and ensure you and your family are ready for what is forecast to be a long, hot summer.”
“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,’’ he said.
“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.”
Mr Gepp said people should check the Fire Danger Rating for their area every day, and know which rating is 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 to date with emergency warnings by tuning into Victoria’s emergency broadcasters including ABC local radio and Sky News, phoning the VicEmergency hotline 1800 226 226, visiting emergency.vic.gov.au and downloading the VicEmergency App.