Fire Action Week 2017 - Now is the right time to prepare

Published on 13 October 2017

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Fire Action Week 2017, commencing from Friday 13 October, is Victoria's annual fire planning and preparation awareness week, signalling the start of the Victorian Government's annual Summer Fire campaign in partnership with emergency services.

This summer, with deficient long-term rainfall and the Bureau of Meteorology's outlook for drier and warmer conditions, Fire Action Week has been brought forward with an expectation of an early commencing, 'above-normal' fire season.

Fire Action Week is your opportunity to better understand your fire risk - so talk to your family, friends and neighbours about your plans, and make sure you know when to leave and where to go to stay safe.

Leaving early means leaving before a fire starts on high-risk days, not when you can see flames or smell smoke. Leaving early means avoiding panic, being trapped or making wrong decisions that could be dire.

Remember, you don't have to live in the country to be at risk. Fires can occur where suburbs back on to bush or grassland. You still need to plan for fire. If you live on the fenceline and a fire starts, walk at least two streets back. If you live two or more streets away, stay where you are, stay alert and monitor conditions. Grassfires are unlikely to spread into built-up areas. And don't drive, as you may block emergency-services accessing incidents.

Use Fire Action Week to prepare your home and property, especially if you live or work in bush and grassfire-prone areas. Taking the right steps now will help make your decisions in an emergency easier and clearer.

  • Talk to your household and neighbours about what you'll do on high-risk days and have a plan if fire threatens you and your home this summer
  • Check Fire Danger Ratings daily at emergency.vic.gov.au to find out how dangerous a fire would be if one started and monitor warnings, especially when the Fire Danger Rating is Severe, Extreme or Code Red
  • Pack an emergency kit of essentials - including important documents, a first-aid kit, medications, blankets, water and a battery powered radio - and keep it handy.

Last summer, there were over 2,000 warnings issued in Victoria. It's up to you to stay informed by using more than one source of information, to understand the three levels of warnings, what they mean and what you should do.

  • Tune in to ABC local radio, commercial and designated community radio stations
  • Watch Sky News TV
  • Phone the VicEmergency Hotline (1800 226 226)
  • Visit emergency.vic.gov.au, and download the VicEmergency App. Warnings are also available on VicEmergency's Twitter (@vicemergency) and Facebook (facebook.com/vicemergency)
  • CFA's Twitter (@CFA_Updates) and Facebook (facebook.com/cfavic)

Over the summer months, you'll see fire safety messages promoted through television, radio, press, outdoor and digital advertisements, as well as through social media channels.

Country Fire Authority and Metropolitan Fire Brigades around the state will also be talking to their communities about local fire risk, how to prepare, and what to do to stay safe over summer.

During Fire Action Week, follow some simple planning and preparation tips to make sure you're ready for the upcoming summer:

  • Plan what you'll do in the event of a fire, talk to your household and know where to access information on high risk days.
  • Keep grass short. Fire can ignite and travel quickly through long grass.
  • Get rid of dry grass, leaves, twigs and loose bark around your home.
  • Remove or prune shrubs near windows and under branches of mature trees.
  • Cut back overhanging tree branches close to property - no branches within 10 metres.
  • Keep gutters and roof areas clear of leaf litter (if you are physically able to).
  • Remove all materials from around the home that could burn, such as boxes, furniture and woodpiles.
  • Be prepared for power failure in extreme weather conditions. Read the Power Outage Guide.

For more information on how to get prepared, visit the emergency.vic.gov.au website.