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CFA helps locals to 'Stepback'
Residents on Hamilton's northern boundary learned how to identify a safer location when faced with the possibility of a fast-moving grassfire at a CFAS event held at the Exclusive Brethren Christian Church in Kerr Street last Saturday morning.
Launching the Stepback program, CFA Community Safety Manager James Haley said urban residents living on the edge of a city or town were at risk of grassfires.
“To reduce the risk to your life or the lives of others who live next to grassland or at risk, all you need to do is to Stepback – to move one or two streets away from the fire,” Mr Haley said.
“If you live in a built up area, you don’t need to get in a car and drive kilometres to safety. Get to know your neighbours and organise a safer location for you and your family.
“Ideally this will be within easy walking distance as driving in smoke can be extremely dangerous. This will reduce road congestion and provide easier movement for emergency vehicles. If you have pets, put them on a lead and take them with you.
“A fire can be extremely distressing and being with friends during this time has the added advantage of relieving the stress and provides more hands to tackle ember attack which has the potential for starting new fires in long grass, garden mulch, leaf piles or wood heaps.”
After enjoying a freshly-cooked bacon and eggs breakfast cooked by the Rapid Relief Team, large maps of the area were used to help residents identify their options for safer locations while the children climbed aboard tankers from the Hamilton and North Hamilton brigades or took a turn on the fire hose knocking down a range of ‘fires’.
The Mobile Education Unit bus and the Home Bushfire Safety display trailer were there to provide further fire safety messages and practical advice.
The Stepback program is a pilot event being run across south-west Victoria. A further event is planned for Hamilton on Sunday 1 March at the Hamilton Gymnastics Club on Mt Bainbridge Road.