Fire ready


COVID-19 and Emergencies

Information on preparing and responding to an emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the Coronavirus website


Make a plan

In the Surf Coast Shire, bushfire is our largest risk. Knowing and understanding your risk to fire is the first step to being prepared.  Learn more at CFA - Am I at Risk?

Having a well prepared and practised plan is critical to your bushfire survival. The CFA have many helpful publications to help you prepare, including the Fire Ready Kit. See links to the CFA website below.

Clean up and prepare your property

  • Keep grass cut to a height of no more than 100mm.

  • Remove branch heaps, derelict building materials, (rake and remove excess surface fire fuels, i.e. leaves, twigs, bark, retaining a fine layer not in excess of 20mm).

  • Clean leaves and dry materials from roofs, gutters and downpipes.

  • Keep driveways clear of vegetation, fire trucks need a clearance of 4m wide by 4m high to safely pass.

  • Cut back branches/foliage overhanging within 2m of your roofline.

  • Store LP Gas cylinders with the pressure relief vent pointing away from buildings.

  • Isolate chemical storage and toxic materials away from your home and your neighbour's.

  • Install smoke detectors near kitchen and bedrooms. Replace the battery each year when daylight savings starts.

  • Fit metal fly wire mesh or solid screens to ember proof the windows, doors, ventilators and skylights.

  • Ensure woodpiles are covered and stored well away from your house and your neighbour's.

    The CFA website has more information on clearing trees and vegetation and what you can and can’t do without a permit.

Landscaping your Surf Coast Garden for Bushfire

As a property owner you have an important role to play in reducing bushfire risk by the way you design, develop and maintain your property.  Council has developed a video and the Landscaping your Surf Coast Garden for Bushfire(PDF, 2MB) booklet to help. We also have an indigenous planting guide for urban areas(PDF, 577KB) and an indigenous planting guide for rural areas.(PDF, 944KB)

Removing environmental weeds from your property is a great first step to reducing fire fuel loads on your property. For more information on identifying and removing weeds, go to our Weeds of the Surf Coast page.

Property inspections and Fire Prevention Notices

Prior to the summer Fire Danger Period, Council Fire Prevention Officers conduct inspections of properties throughout the Shire. Properties that are considered a fire hazard are issued with a Fire Prevention Notice and the owner is required to undertake the prescribed works. Failing to act on a Fire Prevention Notice(PDF, 194KB) may result in hefty fines. 

To report a property as a potential fire hazard, please email us at, or call our Community Fire Safety and Environment Officer on 5261 0600.

Horses and livestock in emergencies

Your animals are your responsibility. Failing to plan ahead for your animals during an emergency puts everyone's lives at risk. Agriculture Victoria has advice on its website to help you prepare for the welfare of your horses and livestock during emergency events. The Country Fire Authority (CFA) has advice around horses and bushfires.

Powerlines and bushfires

All Victorians should be aware of the possibility of power outages during Summer weather conditions and what they can do to prepare. As a result of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, increased safety measures have been introduced through the Government's Powerline Bushfire Safety Program requiring electricity businesses to modify their powerline safety settings on Total Fire Ban and Code Red days to reduce the risk of bushfires. This may result in more power failures and a delay in restoring power if a fault occurs.  Check out this Guide to Power Outages to find out the few simple things you can do to prepare for a power outage.

Emergency warnings

On days of high fire risk it is your responsibility to stay up to date using more than one source of information so you will know if a fire has started near you. Don't rely on receiving an official warning, be proactive. Find out more about fire warnings.

To stay aware of local fire conditions, you can:

  • Download the VicEmergency app
  • Listen to an official emergency broadcaster, eg. ABC radio, SkyNews television
  • Follow CFA on social media 
  • Go to the VicEmergency website
  • Call the VicEmergency hotline - 1800 226 226




The following services can help you, or someone you know, access information during an emergency.