Preparing for Bushfire Season
Note: Yarra Ranges fire danger period begins at 0100 Monday 30 November 2015. This means you cannot light a fire in the open air unless you have a permit or comply with certain requirements. Penalties for breaking the law include a fine of up to $18,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment.
The ‘Your local area – info and advice’ pages of the CFA website outline a number of initiatives that can help you plan for bushfire safety on your property and within our community.
Here are a couple of quicklinks from those pages that are particularly worth checking out:
> The Community Information Guide for Steels Creek
This guide was developed after a community consultation session held in July 2013. It is a good summary of the information required in the event of a fire, in the aftermath, in preparing for bushfire season; the information is both general and also specific to Steels Creek.
Guides for Dixons Creek, Chum Creek, Christmas Hills and Kinglake are also available on the ‘Your local area’ pages of the CFA website.
> The FireReady app for Android phones
> The FireReady app for iPhone/iPad
This was developed by Victoria’s fire services and the Department of Justice to deliver critical emergency information and community safety advice to smartphone and tablet devices. The app also allows users to share photos of emergency incidents tagged with location details to help improve situational awareness of the community and emergency agencies.
Download a guide to understanding warnings and advice here.
> Info on what to do before and during fire – understand what to do well before an event occurs.
What to do on high fire danger days and in the event
of a fire
> Be ready to enact your bushfire survival plan; if you haven’t yet got one, click here
> Check the FireReady app (link to FireReady app info/downloads above) on your smartphone/tablet regularly
> Check for warnings and incidents on the CFA website
> Tune in to the radio
774 ABC Melbourne on the AM band for news of incidents and warnings.
> Listen out for the Steels Creek community alert siren
A prolonged, 5-minute signal indicates that an emergency is occurring and the community is at risk of being impacted. Note: The 5-minute siren is not a signal to evacuate immediately, but to seek more information from sources such as those listed here. Further note: Testing – a 20-second signal – occurs on the second Sunday of each month at 11 am.
> Ring the Victorian Bushfire Information Line – 1800 240 667
The VBIL provides information during significant bushfire incidents and helps the community to prepare for bushfire risk.
VBIL staff can provide information on:
- major bushfires
- bushfire safety messages
- community meeting information
- Emergency Relief Centre location details
- bushfire recovery information
- Total Fire Bans and Fire Restrictions
- Department Sustainability and Environment fuel reduction burns, other planned burns and community consultation.
> Ring the designated contact/s on your Fire Tree once bushfire in the vicinity has been sighted/confirmed.
Fire Trees are a critical contact list often utilised by local Fireguard groups to help quickly warn neighbours of impending danger. If you’re not part of a Fireguard group, click here for more information or ring the Community Education Coordinator (CEC) to be put in touch with a group in your area that you may not know about. The CEC for our CFA District 13 can be contacted on 8739 1300.
> As a last resort survival plan, get to a Neighbourhood Safer Place – Place of Last Resort (NSP). There are 16 NSPs in the Yarra Ranges. Our nearest are at Dixons Creek Reserve on the Melba Hwy, and the Yarra Valley Racing Centre in Yarra Glen. Visit the information page on Council’s website for the location of other NSPs and for important information about NSPs that you should become familiar with. Note: getting to an NSP may place you in danger on the road; best to only go there as a last resort, if you’re in the vicinity or passing by.