Getting Fire Ready

Have a well prepared and practised plan 

The CFA is the best source of information on getting prepared, they have helpful information on cleaning up your property, understanding the risks, creating a bushfire survival plan and preventing house fires.

Having a well thought out, written and practised plan is critical to your bushfire survival. The CFA have developed Your Guide to Survival, a guide that provides essential information aimed at Victorians and tourists so that they are prepared for the summer fire season. Go to the Plan and Prepare section of the CFA website for more information.

Surf Coast Shire has a number of Neighbourhood Safer Places - Bushfire Places of Last Resort (NSP-BPLR) provided for the community as last resort survival options. These do not replace having a well practised plan, going to an NSP-BPLR should only be a last resort if your plans have failed.

Landscaping Your Surf Coast Garden for Bushfire

Living in the Surf Coast, which is widely recognised as a bushfire prone area, property owners have an important role to play in reducing bushfire risk by the way you design, develop and maintain your property.  Council has developed the following video and Landscaping your Surf Coast Garden for Bushfire booklet to help.

Cleaning up your property

  • Keep grass cut to a height of or 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 access tracks to dwellings clear of vegetation (airspace of 4m x 4m).
  • Cut back branches/foliage overhanging within two-metres of your roofline.
  • Store LP Gas cylinders on east side of buildings with pressure relief vents pointing away from buildings.
  • Isolate chemical storage and toxic materials away from your home.
  • 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 spark proof the windows, doors, ventilators and skylights.
  • Ensure woodpiles are covered and stored well away from your house.

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

If you are unable to carry these works out on your property, you may wish to employ a contractor to assist. There are plenty of businesses providing services in the Surf Coast Shire, search the Yellow Pages under grass slashing, vegetation removal or tree lopping.

Warnings, bushfires and incidents

On days of high fire risk it is your responsibility to stay up to date by using more than one source of information so you will know if a fire has started near you. Don't rely on an official warning to leave. Emergency incidents can start quickly and threaten homes and lives within minutes. When warnings are issued you need to understand what each one means. For an explanation of fire warnings, go to the CFA website.

To view the latest warnings, incidents and planned burns, go to www.osom.vic.gov.au

To stay aware of local fire conditions you can:

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 may result in hefty fines. 

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

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 Your Guide to Power Outages to find out the few simple things you can do to prepare for a power outage.

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