Emergency services personnel are coming together over the next four weeks to prepare for this year’s upcoming high-risk season through multi-agency briefings in several locations across Gippsland.
Senior Victorian operational personnel will join regional and local emergency management personnel for briefings on the localised bushfire, flood and storm 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 Gippsland region, starting in Morwell on Wednesday, 5 October and concluding on Thursday, 13 October in Bairnsdale.
Deputy Emergency Management Commissioner Chris Stephenson 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 fifires 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 South East Bryan Russell said Gippsland is expecting a third year in a row of below average bushfire risk across the area.
“With significant rainfall forecast over the coming months, we expect to see a large amount of grass growth throughout Gippsland, meaning grass fires will once again be a reality this summer.”
Fire Rescue Victoria Commissioner Ken Block said summer season preparedness is a shared responsibility between the emergency management sector and the Victorian community.
“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.”
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,” he said.
“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.”
FFMVic Gippsland Deputy Chief Fire Officer Sam Quigley said they are prepared for any challenges that may present over the summer period.
“Despite a lower-than-average fire danger outlook for Gippsland, we continue to work year-round to protect communities from the threat of fire through planned burning, maintaining strategic fuel breaks, hazardous tree removal and other mechanical treatments,” he said.
“We have 170 seasonal firefighters on board for summer, who undergo a comprehensive training program.”
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 Gippsland:
- Wednesday, 5 October: Gippsland – Morwell
- Tuesday, 11 October: Gippsland – Traralgon
- Thursday, 13 October: Gippsland – Bairnsdale