Fire safety

Keeping your home safe from fire

Each year Council inspects properties across the municipality to ensure that long grass and any materials that may pose a fire hazard are removed.  Apart from the fire risk, overgrown properties look unsightly and may attract snakes and other unwanted vermin.

As the property owner or tenants, you are responsible and encouraged to implement a regular maintenance program on your property to ensure all long grass is slashed and other potential fire hazards are identified and removed without the need for Council intervention.

This responsibility covers residential properties, commercial properties, and any vacant land you own within the municipality.

Use the following checklist as a guide to help you prepare your property in the lead up to each fire season:

  • Cut/mow any long grass
  • Remove any flammable material around your home, including clearing out gutters
  • Clear away dead undergrowth and fallen branches
  • Ensure that any firewood is stored well away from your house
  • Remove any noxious and environmental weeds from your property
  • Ensure that your property is clearly numbered to ensure that it can be easily found by Emergency Services
  • Trim excess vegetation along driveways and firebreaks, including overhanging branches to ensure easy access for firefighting equipment.  As a general guide, the CFA requires a minimum clearance of four metres wide by four metres high

Where Council determines that your property is a potential fire hazard, a Fire Prevention Notice will be sent to the landowner giving them the direction to remove the fire hazard from their property.

Under the Country Fire Authority Act, you may receive an infringement if you allow your property to become a fire hazard.

If a notice is not complied with, Council may engage a contractor to clear the land.  Any costs incurred are passed onto the property owner in addition to any fines received.

More information on how to prepare your property is available on the CFA website.

The CFA have also developed a Fire Ready Kit to help you understand and prepare for a fire.

At home

Even if you don’t live in an area that may be affected by a major bushfire, you may still be at risk of a serious grass fire.  It’s important that you are always aware of local fire restrictions and Total Fire Bans and Ratings.

The CFA reports that there are approximately 3,000 house fires in Victoria each year, most of which could have been prevented by taking simple precautions.

Visit the CFA website for valuable information on Fires in the Home and developing a Fire Escape Plan.

Understanding fire danger ratings

The Fire Danger Rating tells you how dangerous a fire would be if one was to start.  It helps you to know when conditions are dangerous enough to put your bushfire survival plan into action.

Fire danger ratings range from low-moderate to code red, the four-day forecast is available on the CFA website.

Ratings are forecasts using the Bureau of Meteorology data for up to four days in advance, based on weather and other environmental conditions such as fuel load.  The rating is your prompt to take action to stay safe.

It’s also important to know what you can and can’t do on a Day of Total Fire Ban. Visit the CFA website to understand what you can and can’t do on a Day of Total Fire Ban.

Emergency alert telephone warnings

Emergency Alert is a community telephone warning system that emergency services can use to attempt to provide a message to the vast majority of phones in the area defined by emergency services.  You should not rely solely on receiving a telephone warning as they are generally only used for life-threatening emergencies.

In an emergency, you may receive a voice message on your landline telephone or a text message on your mobile phone.  If you receive an Emergency Alert and you want more information, there will be instructions in the message that you can follow.

During an emergency

If a large-scale emergency occurs, to stay informed of fires across the state:

  • Do not call 000
  • Instead go to the CFA website; or
  • Call the Victorian Emergency Hotline on 1800 226 226; or

  • Tune into Local ABC radio station, which is your emergency broadcaster

You should only call 000 to report an actual emergency; it should not be called for information requests.