Emergency services personnel are coming together over the next four weeks to prepare for this year’s upcoming fire season through multi-agency briefings in several locations across Grampians.
Senior operational personnel will join regional and local emergency management personnel for briefings on the localised bushfire and flood outlook, specific local risks, and to ensure they are prepared to respond and work with communities to keep them safe.
There will be three briefings in the Grampians region, starting in Horsham on Thursday, 13 October and concluding on Thursday, 10 November with an online session.
Emergency Management Victoria Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the multi-agency briefings were an important part of preparedness activities.
“As a sector, we’re continuing our preparedness into the higher-risk weather season, not only for the risk of fires but also for floods and storms. It’s important that Victorians continue their preparations too,” he said.
“Good information will always lead to good decisions. It’s important to know where you can get emergency information, including the VicEmergency app, VicEmergency Facebook and Twitter, and know who your emergency broadcasters are.”
CFA Acting Deputy Chief Officer West Region Adrian Gutsche said these briefings are a great opportunity to meet with our emergency service partners to talk about local risks and how we can prepare ourselves and the community for the season ahead.
“We expect to see grass fires dominate this fire season but given what we’re seeing with current weather patterns, we could be focusing more on assisting our partner agencies with flood and storm events,” A/DCO Gutsche said.
“The community has an important role in being ready for the season ahead by preparing their properties, being aware of conditions in their area and heeding the warnings and advice. People also need to ensure they check in on vulnerable neighbours when required,” A/DCO Gutsche said.
Fire Rescue Victoria Commissioner Ken Block said summer season preparedness is a shared responsibility between the emergency management sector and the Victorian community.
“We are working alongside our emergency service colleagues to undertake significant planning and preparedness activities to ensure that we are ready to respond to all emergency incidents this fire season, however it is important Victorians do their part too.
“It’s important you understand your fire risk and get prepared now, don’t wait until a fire starts. Make sure you and everyone in your household knows what to do during the summer period, when fires can start and spread quickly.
“If you live near grasslands, you need to understand the risks associated with fast-moving grassfires. If a fire starts in grasslands near your home, walk two streets back and keep clear of responding emergency services,” Commissioner Block said.
Chief Officer Operations of the Victoria State Emergency Service, Tim Wiebusch, said that as the outlook suggests a wet spring and early summer thanks to a third consecutive La Nina event, it’s important Victorians begin to plan for floods and storms, with an emergency plan in place.
“VICSES volunteers are highly trained and will be ready and prepared to respond to requests for assistance to flood and storm events as required, however we are asking communities to prepare too. Make sure you stay informed and listen to the advice of emergency services as warnings are issued.”
While we are preparing for a high-risk season, it’s vital Victorians never drive on flooded roads. It can take just 15cm of water to float a small car”, he said.
FFMVic Grampians Deputy Chief Fire Officer Tony English said as we head into the summer season, Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) has been busy planning and preparing to make sure we can keep the community safe from the risk of fires and emergencies.’
“FFMVic crews have been undertaking fuel management activities such as planned burning, mechanical fuel treatments such as mulching, mowing and slashing, and constructing strategic fuel breaks to protect local communities and reduce the risk of bushfires,” he said.
“The regional briefings are an important opportunity to come together with our partner agencies to discuss our summer season preparedness activities, any specific local risks and how we can work together to best respond to them.”
These sessions are part of a broader schedule of in-person key preparedness briefings which takes place across Melbourne, Gippsland, Hume, Loddon Mallee, Barwon South West, Grampians and other regions. The in-person briefings will conclude in Wodonga on 9 November.
The fire danger rating system has changed to the Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS) and is now nationally consistent across every state and territory.
The system reduces the number of danger levels from six under the previous system, to four.
The new levels are:
- Moderate: Plan and prepare
- High: Prepare to act
- Extreme: Take action now to protect your life and property
- Catastrophic: For your survival, leave bush fire risk areas
Victorians can familiarise themselves with the new fire danger rating system and check the ratings daily this summer on the VicEmergency app or the CFA website.
Upcoming briefings in Grampians
- Tuesday, 18 October: Grampians – Ballarat
- Thursday, 10 November: Online