With students and teachers closing the textbooks this week to mark the start of school holidays, Victoria’s fire services are urging holidaymakers to monitor emergency warnings before hitting the road.
Fire Rescue Victoria Deputy Commissioner Fire Safety, Michelle Young, said that Victorians would be keen to explore new areas of the state now that restrictions had ended.
But while enjoying a much-needed break in the regions, it was important holidaymakers monitored emergency warnings and knew how to evacuate if need be.
“When visiting unfamiliar territory over summer it is very important that visitors learn which fire district they are in and monitor the Fire Danger Ratings.”
“We may be experiencing a La Nina weather pattern but that does not leave room for complacency – last year during La Nina fire services responded to several significant grassfires that came dangerously close to homes.”
“Check the Fire Danger Ratings every day throughout summer, and never travel to or through areas with dense bushlands or grasslands on Extreme or Code Red days.”
“Download the VicEmergency app and set up watch zones for the location you’re visiting, so you will be notified of any fires or other emergency incidents during your stay.”
CFA Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook said grassfires could move at speeds of up to 25km per hour and jump highways, so it was crucial people also monitored areas they were travelling through.
“Before you jump in the car, pop onto the VicEmergency app to check if there are any incidents in areas along your planned route,” he said.
“CFA’s website also has a map of Victoria that details the Fire Danger Ratings for districts across the state, so please ensure you view this before travelling. If Fire Danger Ratings are Severe or higher, consider whether you need to travel and whether there are alternative routes.”
“Victorians who live, work in or travel into areas at risk of grass or bushfires are also encouraged to undertake CFA’s free, publicly available Bushfire Safety for Workers e-learning module to learn how to stay safe if faced with a bushfire situation this summer.”
Forest Fire Management Victoria Chief Fire Officer Chris Hardman said when camping at Victoria’s parks and state forests, visitors should be aware of all exit routes and any evacuation points.
“And if you plan to have a campfire, stay within 50 metres of the campfire at all times and extinguish it with water not soil, before going to bed or leaving the campsite,” Mr Hardman said.