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We’re ready, are you? asks CFA

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Preparations for the fire season at CFA’s State Logistics Centre are well underway as Victorians are urged to start their own preparations this Fire Action Week.

We’re ready, are you? asks CFA

CFA Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook (middle, flanked by CFA Executive Director Infrastructure Services and Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp) tells media about the work that goes on behind the scenes at the SLC

Describing the CFA State Logistics Centre as a vital cog in CFA’s bushfire response, CFA Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook said it was ready for a new fire season after more than doubling its capacity from 3200m2 to 8000m2.

“During last year’s unprecedented bushfire season, the State Logistic Centre’s workload increased early with CFA’s deployment to interstate fires, and was then sustained throughout the prolonged fires across Victoria’s North East and East Gippsland.

Eighty-five per cent of the equipment and resources used by CFA’s firefighters is supplied by the State Logistics Centre, which carries 1900 line items, with sufficient reserves of inventory to meet the demands of a major event through the use of technology and deliberate, planned high inventory levels.

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Between 1 November 2019 and 31 March 2020, it shipped out more than 187,000 litres of water and 185,000 sachets of Hydrate powder, the replenishment of PPC, being about 4,400 items of Wildfire Personal Protective Clothing, 5,700 pairs of wildfire gloves, 2,000 pairs of boots, 1,300 wildfire helmets, 6,300 goggles, 40,000 litres of foam concentrate and 1700 hoses that would reach from Melbourne CBD to Wallan if rolled out in a single line, plus nearly 83,000 P2 firefighting masks with an additional small request for 450,000 community masks distributed on behalf of the federal government

Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, it has also stocked and distributed more than half a million hygiene masks, 11,000 P2 masks, 124,000 pairs of disposable gloves, 4,100 litres of hand sanitiser, and close to 12,000 coveralls, for CFA use only. That’s in addition to 100,000 masks and gloves combined, with close to 8,000 litres of sanitiser managed and warehoused on behalf of Emergency Management Victoria.

“We’re stocked up and ready to go. This is just one way that CFA is prepared for the bushfire season. We’re also conducting safety training and pre-season briefings to make sure we’re at the top of our game,” Mr Cook said.

Mr Cook said Fire Action Week was a time for Victorians to prepare and take stock of what they need to do to stay safe this fire season.

“CFA and its partner agencies are prepared for the bushfire season – but we also rely on the community to do its part to stay safe.

“Victorians share the responsibility of bushfire safety and now is the time to prepare your properties and talk to your loved ones about how to stay safe this fire season.”

Visit cfa.vic.gov.au for more information about bushfire planning and preparation, and about leaving early.

Follow some simple planning and preparation tips to make sure you're ready for the upcoming bushfire season:

Prepare your property; it can minimise property damage even if you leave early

  • Move furniture, woodpiles and mulch away from windows, decks and eaves
  • Prune tree branches so they are not overhanging the roof or touching walls
  • Keep grass shorter than 10cm. Regularly remove leaves and twigs
  • Don’t have plants higher than 10cm in front of windows or glass doors
  • Before you leave, make sure you remove all flammable items from around your home. Houses have been lost from things as simple as embers landing on a doormat
  • Check that your home and contents insurance is current and includes a level of cover in line with current building standards and regulations.

Have a plan, make sure your family knows it, and stick to it

  • Check the fire risk where you live.
  • Download the VicEmergency app now so you know how it works well before you need to use it. For example, you can set up tailored watch zones for the area where you live, go on holiday or to monitor what is happening where friends and family are located.
  • Decide which Fire Danger Rating is your trigger to leave; start checking Fire Danger Ratings daily
  • Decide where you will go and what you’ll do with your pets
  • Plan for all scenarios – what will you do if your car won’t start, the wind changes direction, roads are blocked, someone is hurt or people aren’t where you expect them to be?
  • When planning with kids, make sure you know your local school policy for fire risk days. Some schools close on Code Red days, it’s important to know so you can plan for all situations.
  • Create an emergency kit so you are ready to leave quickly and calmly
  • Know how you will monitor for warnings and do this regularly on hot, windy days
  • Always use more than one source to monitor warnings; ABC local radio, Sky News TV, the VicEmergency App, emergency.vic.gov.au and VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.
  • Get batteries for your radio, keep laptops and mobiles charged and consider getting power banks to extend their “life” in case of emergency.
  • Defending your home requires at least two fit adults, at least 10,000 litres of water, protective clothing, and appropriate firefighting hoses and pumps. Most homes in high risk bushfire areas are not defendable on Code Red days. Defending your home is very risky – you could lose your life or be seriously injured.