Spark a dis­cus­sion about sav­ing lives

Campaspe News - - NEWS -

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.

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