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Media Release

People in WA underprepared for the threat of bushfire
Monday 12 October 2015 – 9:45 AM

​Startling new research has found three quarters of Western Australians believe they are not at risk of bushfire and are likely to be underprepared.

The survey of people living in WA’s south is being released as part of the State Government ‘Are You Ready?’ campaign which was launched yesterday. The campaign calls upon the community to play their part in preparing for bushfires. 

DFES Deputy Commissioner Steve Fewster Capability Command said the Western Australia summer and searing temperatures bring with them the threat of bushfire.

Western Australia is one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world and part of residing here is living with the bushfire threat,” Deputy Commissioner Fewster said. 

“It is concerning to think that nearly three quarters of respondents don’t have a bushfire survival plan, but the good news is that you can sit down tonight with your family and write one up.

“I encourage everyone to get on board and do more than ever this year to prepare your home and family.”

Deputy Commissioner Fewster also warned that people should take the time to prepare for the one in a life time catastrophe.

“Once every century or so a big event comes along that fundamentally changes us as a community – this could be a fire, storm, earthquake, flood or any other natural disaster,” he said.

Changing weather patterns and history all point towards the fact that this event could hit Western Australia at any stage and we all need to be ready.” 

DFES recommends creating a bushfire plan, writing it down and practicing it with your family. Simple actions you can take around your home include cutting long grass, ensuring trees are well away from buildings and clearing roof gutters.

 Of the 695 respondents to the survey, more than half said they didn’t know exactly what to do during a bushfire, and more than two thirds admitted they hadn’t done enough to prepare.

Deputy Commissioner Fewster said that during an emergency your ability to think clearly can be affected, so it’s important to do as much as possible now to prepare.   

Many things can  go wrong, such as losing power and water, having roads cut off, becoming trapped and not being able to reach family members,” he said.  

“Having a bushfire plan, writing it down and practicing it with your family will help you know what to do. Build your plan around your family’s day, and make sure you follow it.”

Last season, more than 3,900 bushfires occurred across Western Australia including major fires in Boddington, Bullsbrook, Northcliffe and Waroona.

To develop a bushfire survival plan or find out more about how to prepare your home for bushfires visit areyouready.wa.gov.au 

RESEARCH FINDINGS:

695 residents across Perth, and the south west land division were surveyed in September 2015. 

  • Less than half of people know exactly what to do during a bushfire. 
  • Nearly three quarters (74%) of all respondents do not have a bushfire plan in place. 
  • Less than one quarter of respondents acknowledge their property is at risk from bushfire, but only 51% of these have a bushfire survival plan. 
  • 61% of those who believe they’re at risk admit they haven’t done everything they need to do to prepare for bushfires. 
  • 76% of respondents do not believe they are at risk of bushfire, this includes approximately half of the regional respondents. 
  • 66% of respondents have experienced a bushfire near their home.

WHAT TO DO

DFES recommends that if you live or travel in Western Australia you:

  • Develop a bushfire survival plan, write it down and practice it with your family. This plan should include your triggers to evacuate.
  • Prepare and maintain your property throughout summer. This includes pruning back trees, cutting long grass, clearing your roof gutters and removing rubbish from around your house. 
  • Have an emergency kit ready to go including essential supplies such as a battery operated radio, torch, first aid kit, woollen blanket, water and non-perishable food. On the day don’t forgot to add in your purse or wallet, car and house keys, mobile phone and charger and important documents. 
  • Monitor the weather and Fire Danger Ratings during the summer. 
  • During a bushfire close all doors and windows, and turn off evaporative air conditioners, but keep water running through the system if possible. 
  • Know the different levels of bushfire warnings issued by the fire services and keep up-to-date during an emergency by seeking information from a variety of sources. 

END

Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9225 5955

 

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