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Media Release

Good neighbours key to a bushfire ready community
Tuesday 19 March 2013 – 9:00 AM

Being a good neighbour can do more than improve community spirit, it can help people survive a bushfire.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Director Community Engagement Suellen Shea said often communities that were best able to react to bushfire were ones who were well connected and had good relationships with one another.

 

“Knowing your neighbours means you can work together on developing your bushfire survival plans,” Ms Shea said.

 

“If a fire occurs in your area, everyone is affected so by getting to know your neighbour you can help each other to either leave early or take steps to enact your plan.

 

“It can also help everyone in the community understand who lives next door or nearby that may be at greater risk during a bushfire, such as seniors, people with mobility issues or those that have a disability.”

 
Ms Shea said that recent bushfires have spurred neighbourhood action.
 
“Following a recent incident in Bindoon, 30 neighbours met to discuss how they could work together and communicate more effectively during a bushfire,” she said.
 
“These neighbours are working together to set up a Bushfire Ready Group and are establishing a phone tree.”
 
Ms Shea said there were many different ways neighbours could help each other during the bushfire season.
 
“If you organise a phone tree you can help everyone in your neighbourhood be aware if a fire occurs,” Ms Shea said.
 

“Also consider including your neighbours in your bushfire survival plan. If your plan is to leave early but you don’t always have a car, you should discuss the options with your family and your neighbours as they may be a good backup.”

 
“If you work away from home and you have pets or livestock, your neighbour may be able to help so talk to them about your concerns.
 
Ms Shea said it was vital for communities to come together to plan and prepare for bushfire.
 
“In the middle of an emergency, it’s too late to plan and meet your neighbours,” she said.
 
“Don’t put it off to tomorrow when you can meet them today because you never know when you might need their help.”
 

For information on bushfires and to find out how you and your neighbours can join a Bushfire Ready Group visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au.
 
The annual Neighbour Day will be held on Sunday 31 March. More details are available at www.neighbourday.org
 
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Media Contact: Media and Public Affairs on 9225 5955.
 

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