Bushfires: Preparing to leave early


Thursday February 2, 2012

Victorians can now fill out a Red Cross fire plan online. Victorians who rely on others to help them leave early before a high fire risk day - and those assisting them to leave early - can now fill out a Red Cross fire plan online.

The Red Cross 'Bushfires - Preparing to leave early' plan is designed for people who need extra support to leave early, according to Red Cross State Manager for Emergency Services Adam Dent.

"Anyone who needs additional support to leave early well before the potential onset of a bushfire would benefit from having a preparing to leave early plan," Mr Dent said.

"Being able to fill this plan out online makes it even more accessible to these people and the family members, friends or carers who may help them with their preparations," he added.

The Red Cross 'Bushfires - Preparing to leave early' plan, produced by Red Cross and the CFA, recommends that people leave early on a Severe or Extreme fire day, and before a Code Red day.

The plan is suitable for a wide audience, including the frail or elderly, people with a disability, and anyone who might have difficulty thinking or acting clearly in an emergency.

Drawing on the well-established Red Cross approach to 'all hazards' emergency preparedness, the plan sets out four steps people can take to plan for their own safety, and prepare to leave early before a bushfire. These steps are: be informed, make a plan, make a relocation kit, and know your neighbours.

Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said that while fire planning was essential for all Victorians in high fire risk areas, it is crucial for people who may need extra help to leave early.

"All Victorians need a fire plan, but if you know you're going to need help leaving early - you need to take extra care with your preparations," Mr Lapsley said.

"There are a number of things you need to consider for your own safety and completing a Red Cross 'Bushfires - Preparing to leave early' plan will prompt you to plan when to leave, where you'll go, how you'll get there, what personal items to take - such as medications - and who to tell.

"If you need help filling out the plan and putting your preparations in place, ask your family, friends, neighbours or a carer.

"Or if you know someone who might need assistance with their preparations, please talk to them about how you can help," Mr Lapsley said.