Don’t be under insured

The keynote speaker at a Fire Ready Victoria session in Lancefield on Saturday evening emphasised the importance of property owners being “paid up” and having the appropriate amount of insurance cover needed to rebuild their homes if they were destroyed by fire.
Chewton Fire Brigade’s community safety officer Rob Reid Smith pointed out that flowing on from the Black Saturday fires where 173 lives were lost in Victoria, much more stringent regulations were introduced regarding building materials and siting.
Mr Smith said that generally, if you wanted to rebuild in the same place where such regulations apply, owners should have increased insurance premiums … and it would be wise to add a further $50,000 as well (to cover removal of burnt-out materials and other costs).
The meeting held at Lancefield Fire Station attracted an attendance of 37, which was pleasing to the local brigade.
The speaker explained the CFA fire ratings, and discussed what people should think about if they planned to leave as a precautionary move or in the event of a fire, and what to think about if you couldn’t leave, or were considering staying to fight a fire at your home/property.
He said while grassfires travelled quicker, they did not generate the amount of embers that came from bushfires.
Mr Smith emphasised the need for all property owners to have a Fire Plan; it should be discussed and practised … doing drills relieves stress levels and you are less likely to panic if threatened by a serious fire.
He spoke about the gap situation that could be up to 20 to 25 minutes from the time a fire was reported/noticed to when an official warning was issued.
A range of expert prediction information prepared in recent years for Australia and Victoria was referred to; much of this had been very accurate as illustrated on video material and mapping.
Mr Smith said in the huge New South Wales and eastern Victoria fires this summer, hazard reduction had had very little effect.
Extreme weather conditions and topography were major factors in the fierceness and extent of the fires. The Rural Fire Service in NSW has stated most of the fires it has been battling were started by lightning.
The CFA ‘Leave Early’ message was repeated, with the essential avoidance of radiant heat crucial in saving lives.
The speaker also related his own specialised measures to protect his previous home in the Warrandyte — Eltham area before he moved to Chewton.
He described advanced fire predictions in central Victoria this summer as being for “a normal season”.
Audience members asked a number of questions, and literature was distributed.
Many fire brigades in Victoria are prepared to assess people’s fire prevention measures.
A sausage sizzle concluded proceedings.

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