Country Victoria is very fire prone. The events of the Black Saturday fires took place nearly three years ago. Nevertheless, the tragic deaths of people are still fresh in the minds of every Victorian. It is of vital importance to make sure that those living in fire-prone areas have an up-to-date fire plan. It is recommended Victorians with a disability leave their homes early on extreme and severe fire danger days. In addition, all Victorians in fire-prone areas should evacuate their property well before a code red day. A code red day describes an extremely high fire-danger day.
Make a fire plan
A fire plan could be the most important plan you will ever make in your life. A fire plan has the potential to save property, but more importantly, your life. The Australian Red Cross has a plan on how to try and keep safe. It helps you make decisions on when to leave home, where you will go and how you will get there. It suggests when you can return home. And what to do if you can't leave your home.
Having a prepared and rehearsed fire plan is vital. It can also ease your nerves during the bushfire season. This is because it can be very difficult to think rationally in a stressful situation such as a fire threat. The last thing you want to do when danger looms is be indecisive regarding the action you should take to protect your family.
Fire safety and disability
DiVine spoke with Garry Hammer of Gippsland. Garry has lived in the bush for the majority of his life. He has also worked as a firefighter for a number of years. Garry has also coordinated many bushfire evacuation plans. He is now a wheelchair user who is passionate about fire safety for those living with disability.
It is especially important to leave your property early if you have a disability and don't have access to the appropriate supports, says Garry.
It is Garry's wish that more disability-specific fire-safety information becomes available to Victorians.
People with disabilities need to get involved in the whole process, he says.
Garry wants people with disabilities to know as much about fire safety as possible.
Some people with disabilities need support to attend fire safety information meetings, and all this information should be made available in alternative formats such as Braille.
Listen to ABC radio as it is the emergency broadcaster, you want to be as prepared as you possibly can. Gary stresses that even though it is recommended that you leave your property early, that's not all you should do.
Make sure that everything around your property that can burn is taken care of. He urges rural Victorians
to ...get rid of as much grass as you can, because after an evacuation you want to eventually return to see your property in one piece.
An important message
In the event of severe fire danger, every Victorian in fire-prone areas should update their fire plan and leave their property early. The possibility of saving the lives of you and your family easily outweighs the slight inconvenience of evacuating your property.
You can request a plan be sent to you by phoning 1800 240 667.