Know your bushfire survival plan

In the event of major bushfire or emergency in which you must evacuate your home, it is important that you have a plan in place for where you will go.
When you decide to leave is the most important decision you will make. Driving in a bushfire is extremely dangerous and can be fatal. A drive that would normally take five minutes could take two hours with road closures, traffic jams, crashes, smoke, fallen trees and embers getting in the way.
Plan ahead so you know how you will leave. Know different routes to get out of the area – some may be closed if a fire is already burning nearby.
The Country Fire Authority website offers practical advice to help you develop your own bushfire survival plan: www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/your-guide-to-survival
Bushfire emergencies are managed by an incident control centre that coordinates agencies including police and emergency services, and local councils.
Councils will only open an emergency relief and/or recovery centre at the direction of the incident control.
Mount Alexander Shire Council’s municipal fire prevention officer, Glenn Brown, said that while the shire did have designated Neighbourhood Safer Places, those must only ever be treated as a place of last resort.
“If you want to include the Neighbourhood Safer Places in your plan, include them as Plan Z because they should not be your first option,” Mr Brown said.
“They may or may not have facilities open, and they may or may not have services there … they are literally the place of last resort.
“Leaving early is your best option.”
If an Emergency Relief Centre is required, its location will only be declared/advertised once the location of the emergency is known.
When an ERC is established, it will be widely promoted on radio, on the Vic Emergency website and app (which residents, if they can, should download and set up) www.emergency.vic.gov.au and council’s Emergency Alerts Facebook page www.facebook.com/MacedonRangesEmergencyAlerts.
A relief centre provides a temporary gathering place for people who have to leave their home to get information and basic support services such as food, clothing, blankets, first aid and emergency shelter.
A relief centre provides only very basic amenities and should be considered an option only if going to family, neighbours or friends is not feasible.
If the emergency is likely to be for an extended period, arrangements will be made for the provision of a suitable Emergency Recovery Centre.
This is a ‘one-stop-shop’ for people affected by an emergency.
A recovery centre provides a place where residents can access support from Red Cross, Salvation Army and other services; and information regarding such things as insurance, accommodation and financial support.
It is also commonly used as a meeting place for the community to come together and support one another.

PLACES OF LAST RESORT

Macedon Ranges Shire‘s designated Neighbourhood Safer Place – Places of Last Resort are located throughout the shire in four of the highest risk towns at:
– Buffalo Stadium, Forest Street, Woodend
– Lancefield Mechanics Hall, High Street, Lancefield
– Riddells Creek Leisure Centre, Sutherlands Road, Riddells Creek
– Macedon Community Centre, Tony Clarke Reserve, Waterfalls Road, Macedon.
Mount Alexander Shire‘s NSPs are located at:
– Campbells Creek Community Centre, corner Elizabeth Street and Cemetery Road, Campbells Creek
– Castlemaine CBD, Mostyn Street (between Barker and Hargraves Street), including Victory Park
– Guildford Recreation Reserve, Templeton Street, Guildford
– Maldon Recreation Reserve, Bill Woodfull Football Oval, Francis Street, Maldon
– Maldon Recreation Reserve, Football Netball Pavilion, Francis Street, Maldon
– Newstead Community Centre, 9 Lyons Street (Pyrenees Highway), Newstead
– Taradale Public Hall, corner High Street (Calder Highway) and De La Beche Street, Taradale.
For our readers in the east of Hepburn Shire, the NSPs are:
– Glenlyon – Eldon Street (between Molesworth Street and house number 19)
– Trentham – Camp Street (between Cosmo Road and Bowen Street) Trentham
Please note: Neighbourhood Safer Places do not guarantee your safety, they are Places of Last Resort. The safest option is always to leave early.

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