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Preparing for Bushfire
Bushfires are a natural occurrence and it is impossible to totally avoid them; however, as a community, everyone can do their bit to be prepared should a bushfire occur.
Fire awareness and preparedness in the home, agriculture, business, industry and places of recreation, is encouraged by the Country Fire Authority (CFA), Department of Environment and Primary Industry (DEPI), local councils and other government agencies.
The risk of bushfire is particularly high during the warmer months, and it is very important that everyone abides by the fire restrictions during this time.
Bushfires cause devastation when they occur. Large bushfires require many resources to keep them under control, therefore it is not likely that CFA or other emergency services will be able to assist you individually. It is extremely important that you take steps to ensure that you, your family and property, are prepared for a bushfire.
The safest thing you can do on days of high fire risk is to leave early. In making this decision it is very important that you discuss it with other people who live in your house, prepare a bushfire plan together and write it down. Remember, travelling on the road through a bushfire is extremely dangerous.
For detailed information in relation to planning and response to bushfires or fire management practices, please visit the CFA website
Download and Complete a CFA FireReady Kit
The CFA's Fire Ready Kit has been designed to help you understand fire and plan for survival, beginning with the basics of preparing before the fire season, through to planning what to do if fire is in your area and you cannot leave.
If you live in a bushfire prone area, you need to prepare before the bushfire season (fire danger period) so that you are better able to cope before, during and after a bushfire.
- Prepare a Bushfire Survival Plan and a Bushfire Survival Kit and practice it regularly
- Find out if there is a nearby Neighbourhood Safer Place
- Make sure your property has clear access for fire trucks
- Trim low-lying branches and native shrubs growing too close to the house
- Remove all rubbish, leaf litter, firewood and fuel containers near the house
- Clear roof and gutters of leaves, twigs, bark and other debris
- Mow your grass regularly to keep it short
- Rake up leaves, twigs and branches
- If possible, make a firebreak around your home (use mower, rake, spade)
- Fill in any gaps around windows, door frames and roof eaves
- Decide to leave or stay - Will you leave as early as possible on a day of high bushfire risk, or are you going to stay and actively defend your home? Make this decision with everyone in your house.
- What is your trigger to put your bushfire plan into action? Is it a total fire ban day, or other high fire risk days?
- Write a list of emergency contact numbers including relatives, friends, doctor, vet, employer, Council, Victorian Bushfire Information Line, etc
Vacant properties and bush blocks
If you have a vacant property in a residential area you should maintain the height of the grass, blackberries and other weeds to a maximum height of 10 centimetres above ground level.
If you have a vacant property or bush block in a bushfire prone area, it is your responsibility to maintain a clean property to prevent bushfire. This includes a clean fence line, and possibly a fire break between your property and properties adjacent to your property.
Cleaning up your property should be done prior to the start of the declared fire danger period. Please check with Council before removing trees and undergrowth as planning regulations may apply.
Fuel reduction burns
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Parks Victoria conduct planned burns on public land to reduce fire fuel and for ecological and regeneration purposes. This does not mean that it’s safe for you to conduct a burn on your private land. For information on conducting burns on private land contact your local CFA brigade.
Responsible pet ownership requires a collaborative approach and a lifetime commitment. In the event of an emergency or disaster it is up to you to prepare for the safety and welfare of your pets. There are several things you can do to ensure you and your animals are prepared:
- Include your animals in your household emergency plans
- Keep vaccinations and worming up to date
- Ensure your emergency kit includes appropriate pet supplies, including medication and a copy of your pets most recent immunisation records, food (including treats), bottled water, a familiar pet blanket, bedding or toys and suitable cleaning supplies
- Ensure your pet is accustomed to being put into a carry cage or crate. You can use your own carry cage/crate so don’t forget to add it to your emergency plan. Leads/harnesses are also required for exercising your pet
- Properly identify your pets, e.g. Lifetime registration tags, name tags with current contact details and ensure your details are up to date with your microchip provider
- Keep a list of important phone numbers, such as veterinarian or Animal Management Centre handy.
We understand that your pet is part of the family. By acting early and seeking help from friends outside of the emergency area, the likelihood of you being reunited with your pet will be much greater:
- Know where you are going to take your animals well in advance of an emergency
- If moving animals to a safer place do so early to avoid unnecessary risk
- If staying at home secure animals indoors so that they do not take flight or run away
- Provide adequate food and water in large, heavy bowls
- Place pets in separate rooms with small or preferably no windows e.g. laundry or bathroom
- If left outside do not tie the animals up
- Do not leave pets in vehicles
For more information and advice about preparing your pet for an emergency, visit the RSPCA website Emergency Planning Page
Farms, property and livestock
Whether you live on a large-scale farm or a smaller lifestyle property, it is important that you understand the fire risks and how you can reduce them.
Your farm is your business and your home, and destruction to one or both can have devastating effects. For information about reducing the risk and effects of fire on your property visit the CFA website.
If you have livestock or animals, you will need to consider their welfare in your bushfire plan. A livestock plan can reduce the impact of bushfire both on the animals and on your livelihood. The CFA provides specialist advice on preparing your farm and livestock on its website