Are you fire ready?

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FIREFIGHTERS READY TO MEET ANY EMERGENCY… Shepparton firefighters, Craig McInnes and Rob Hardwick prepared for the worst. Photo: Steve Hutcheson

The devastating fires in New South Wales and Eastern Victoria are a sober reminder that bushfires are never that far away. Have you got yourself prepared for what you would do in a fire situation?

Shepparton CFA station officer, Mark Whitehead said, “With this weather, even people in the city should be prepared for the eventuality of a fire. When a fire does happen, listen to social media, get the VicEmergency app onto your phone, listen to local radio or the ABC to be advised.”

Leaving early means being away from high risk areas before there are any signs of fire. It does not mean waiting for a warning or a siren. It does not mean waiting to see or smell smoke. It’s up to you to decide where you will go on a fire risk day. Don’t wait and see.

Leaving early is the safest way to survive a bushfire. People die during bushfires trying to leave their homes at the last minute.

Consider what you need to do to help keep your pets and stock safe.

Now is the best time to prepare an emergency run kit for each member of the family. Things to include in an overnight bag with a change of clothes and toiletries will be any medicines along with a first aid kit, important papers and valuables such as passports, wills, photos and jewellery, mobile phones and a charger, a supply of drinking water, some wool blankets and essential contact information.

If you need help to leave because you are frail or elderly or have a physical disability, or have problems thinking clearly or acting quickly under stress, you may need help. Ask family, friends or neighbours to help prepare your plan and who will be available to assist you in the event of a fire.

Plan and know your survival options if leaving early is no longer an option. Know where your shelter and survival options are located if a fire is in your area and you cannot leave.

For more details on each of these points refer to the Vic Emergency website at https://www.emergency.vic.gov.au/