CFA - Are you Fire Ready?

Prepare. Act. Survive. Are you Fire Ready? Have you organised and practised your Fire Evacuation Plan? For information on either of these items and to put your plan into action please visit the CFA website: www.cfa.vic.gov.au. Prepare, Act, Survive!

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do to prepare for fire this summer?

This summer, parts of Victoria are at above average risk of bushfire and grassfire so it's important to prepare for fire in advance of the summer months. As a minimum, your preparations should include understanding your fire risk, knowing where to find Fire Danger Ratings and how to use them, and talking to your household about what you'll do if a fire starts. You can also do simple things around your property like reducing weeds, firewood, grass and other fuel around your house and clearing your gutters.

How do I know what my fire risk is?

Your fire risk depends on a number of factors, including where you live and how easy it is to get out. Remember, everyone's risk is different. For information about your risk and tips on leaving early, talk to your local CFA brigade or search 'Am I at risk?' and 'Leaving Early' at cfa.vic.gov.au

What are Fire Danger Ratings?

Fire Danger Ratings tell you how bad a fire would be if one started. As the ratings increase, so does your risk of fire. Hot, dry windy days are the worst weather conditions for fire. The three most important ratings to look out for are Severe, Extreme and Code Red. Code Red signals the worst conditions for a grass or bushfire and means that if a fire was to start, it would be uncontrollable. A rating of Severe or Extreme signals that if a fire starts and takes hold it will be unpredictable and fast moving.

Why are Fire Danger Ratings important for me?

Fire Danger Ratings should be used as your trigger to leave early. Check the ratings daily at cfa.vic.gov.au or download the FireReady smartphone app to check them on your mobile phone. On a Code Red day, leaving high-risk areas the night before or early in the day is the safest option. On a Severe or Extreme day, if you live in a high-risk area, and your house is not prepared and you are not able to defend it, leaving early in the day is your safest option.

What should I talk about with my household or family?

Every household should have a conversation about when you will leave before a fire and where you will go. This needs to include where you will shelter if you get caught out and cannot leave your property or area. Pack an emergency kit so you're ready to go any time - including important papers and essentials like mobile phones, medications, changes of clothes and water.

What does leaving early mean?

'Leaving early' means being away from high-risk areas before a fire starts. In other words, leaving early is a precaution you take just in case there is a fire - because in some conditions, any fire that starts is likely to be uncontrollable. Leaving early does not mean waiting for a warning or a siren, waiting to see or smell smoke, or waiting to be told to leave.

Why should I leave early?

Because fires can start and spread very quickly in some conditions, leaving early is the safest option for anyone in a high-risk fire area. Many people have died in their homes or trying to leave their homes at the last minute.

When should I leave?

You can make a decision about when to leave by understanding the risk where you live, and checking Fire Danger Ratings. The three most important ratings to look out for are Severe, Extreme and Code Red.

Code Red signals the worst conditions for a grass or bushfire and means that if a fire was to start, it would be uncontrollable. Most houses are not designed or constructed to withstand Code Red conditions. Leaving high-risk areas the night before a Code Red day or early in the day is the safest option.

A rating of Severe or Extreme fire danger signals that if a fire starts and takes hold, it will be unpredictable and fast moving. If you live in a high-risk area, and your house is not prepared and you are not able to defend it, leaving early in the day is your safest option.

How important is it to prepare my property, even when I plan to leave early?

Preparing your property is important, but it does not mean that your house will provide protection for you and your family during a fire. However, if you have cleared the gutters, kept the grass down and removed flammable items nearby, your house has a greater chance of not catching alight in a fire - and you have a better chance of being able to return home.

Should I pack an emergency kit? What should it include?

Preparing an emergency kit containing important documents and essentials like charged mobile phones, battery-operated radios, clothes and water means that you can get out quickly when it is time to go. For more information on what to include, visit cfa.vic.gov.au.

What should I do if I know someone who needs help leaving early?

For those who are frail, have a physical disability, or have trouble thinking clearly or acting quickly in stressful situations, it is even more important to leave early if there is a threat of fire. Talk to family, friends or others in your community who might need assistance leaving early and help them prepare their Red Cross 'Bushfires - preparing to leave early plan', available free from www.cfa.vic.gov.au/redcrossplan or by calling the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667. Make sure their plan includes what they will do if you are away and can't help.

If there is a fire in my neighbourhood or local district, will there be a fire truck at my home?

The fire agencies cannot guarantee firefighting resources at your property. They will endeavour to attend properties directly threatened by the fire, if it is safe to do so and there are sufficient resources. However, it is important to remember that any firefighters deployed to protect individual houses may be diverted to try and contain the spread of the fire.

What information can I get from the FireReady smartphone app?

The FireReady smartphone app displays active fires on a map, as well as Fire Danger Ratings and warnings.

What's the advice if I live on the edge of a city or town next to grassland?

If you live on the edge of a city or town, you may be at risk from grassfire this summer. If you live directly next to grassland and a grassfire starts, you need to quickly put two or three house blocks between you and the fire. Avoid driving in a grassfire because it may be smoky and hard to see, and traffic jams and accidents are likely. Act early - don't wait to receive a warning before moving two or three house blocks away from a grassfire.

If you don't live directly next to grassland and a grassfire starts, it's safer to stay where you are because it's unlikely a fire will spread past fences and houses. Don't try to get a closer look at a grassfire - you will put yourself and others in danger.

What should I do if I live next to bush?

If you live near bush, you could be at serious risk of uncontrollable fires on Severe, Extreme and Code Red days. Use Fire Danger Ratings to decide when to leave. Fire Danger Ratings tell you how bad a fire would be if one started. As the ratings increase, so does your risk.

Check the ratings daily at cfa.vic.gov.au. Talk to your household about where you'll go and when you're going to leave, so it's easier for you to get out before a fire. Remember, leaving early is the safest option to protect yourself and your family. Leaving late means driving your family through smoke, fallen trees and power lines, and facing the risk of being trapped or worse.

What should I do to stay safe while travelling this summer?

  • Check the Fire Danger Rating for your destination on the CFA website before you go and when you arrive, and listen to local radio for warnings and fire information while you're on the road
  • Monitor weather conditions while you're away by listening to local or ABC radio and talking to locals when you arrive about the fire risk
  • On Severe or Extreme Fire Danger Rating days, it's safer to travel into cities and towns. Never travel into a high risk area where a Code Red has been forecast
  • Finally, download the FireReady app, bookmark the CFA website and save the Victorian Bushfire Information Line number, 1800 240 667, into your mobile phone

Where do I find fire warnings?

Fires can start and move quickly. On hot, dry, windy days, stay aware of what is happening around you and use more than one source for warnings. Get the most up to date information by listening to emergency broadcasters including ABC radio, local radio and SKY News, from the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667, on CFA's website, on the FireReady smartphone app, or through CFA's social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

Where should I go for more information?

For more information on planning and preparing for fire this summer, visit the CFA website or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line (VBIL) on 1800 240 667.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment, contact the VBIL through the National Relay Service: www.relayservice.com.au

  • TTY users phone 1800 555 677 then ask for 1800 240 667
  • Speak and Listen users phone 1800 555 727 then ask for 1800 240 667
  • Internet relay users connect to the NRS then ask for 1800 240 667.

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