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Plan and prepare ahead of your summer break
As summer heats up, Victorians are heeding the advice of emergency services to keep safe and informed during emergencies.
Since Monday, more than 15,000 people have downloaded the FireReady app for smartphones, taking the total number of downloads to more than 680,000.
After lightning sparked more than 350 fires across the state – including two still burning at Longwood and Lake Rowan and a new fire at Mia Mia which started today – more than 185 warnings and advice messages have been issued, mainly for communities in north-east of Victoria. In addition 27,369 Emergency Alert text and voice messages were sent to mobile and landline phones.
Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said it was fantastic to see people accessing the many channels available to get timely emergency information. He also reminded people not to wait to the last minute to find out where to access potentiall life saving information.
“As we have seen this week, we’re in for a long, dry and hot summer with fire and emergency services already responding to significant fires. “ he said.
“We are urging all Victorians to plan and prepare now.
“Don’t wait and see or hold off until the weather warms up or when a fire starts and it’s too late.
“The key is to be prepared - know your trigger for leaving early, what you will do in the event of an emergency and where you can find more information.”
Mr Lapsley said it was vital to never rely on just one source of information but to use multiple sources including:
- ABC local radio, commercial and designated radio stations or Sky News TV
- The FireReady App – which sends push notifications for incidents, Total Fire Bans and what Fire Danger Ratings
- The emergency.vic.gov.au website
- Victorian Bushfire Information Line 1800 240 667
- CFA Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Mr Lapsley said that while information was easily accessible, people should not rely on receiving a warning before deciding what they will do.
“On Tuesday this week we saw fires start and spread extremely quickly. Often events happen too quickly for emergency services to respond with a telephone alert or emergency warning,” he said.
“Just as we can’t send a fire truck to every home, we can’t knock on every door to tell people to leave.”
Mr Lapsley said although figures showed that people were downloading the FireReady appsome were doing this at the last minute.
“When a fire is threatening and you are panicked, you don’t want to be searching for information and having to make last minute decisions about safety,” he said.
“We still have fires burning in the state and some warmer tempteratures up north. While the fire danger is more mild than earlier this week, we are in summer and the risk will increase as we head into the state’s peak fire months of January and February.”
Mr Lapsley said as Victoria heads into the Christmas and New Year, people planning holidays aslo needed to consider what they would do in the event of a fire or other emergency.
“We’re heading into school holidays and a time where many people will be in unfamiliar places, by the water and sometimes in areas of high bushfire risk,” he said.
“We don’t want to scare anyone and we want Victorians to enjoy this time away and the break with their families however, we are just asking people to think ahead and take fire seriously.
“Be aware of where you’re travelling to and the local conditions, including any upcoming weather you may need to plan for, whether that be heat or fire risk. This may be the difference to a safe and happy holiday for you and your family.”