Preparing for an Emergency

It is important that you make preparations before an emergency arises, as without a plan you may find yourself panicked and unsure about what to do or where to go. Visit the following sections to learn more about how to prepare for an emergency.

Fire|Flood|Heatwave|Storm

Fire

DISCOVER REDIPLAN

RediPlan is a free disaster preparedness guide from Red Cross that will get you prepared for any emergency in four simple steps. RediPlan helps you:

• learn about the risks you face and how they might affect you
• make an emergency survival kit to help you through a disaster
• take action now to protect the important things in life
• create your personal emergency plan to help you when disaster strikes.

Click here to go to the Red Cross website and find out more about RediPlan.

"Get Prepared" is the iOS app version of the RediPlan, available from the App Store (not yet available for Android).

FIRE RESTRICTIONS

During the Fire Danger Period, burning off in the open air, other than for cooking purposes or warmth/comfort, is prohibited.  During a day of Total Fire Ban no fires can be lit.

A zero tolerance approach is taken to the deliberate or reckless lighting of fires during the Declared Fire Danger Period and serious fines apply for breaches of these regulations.

The CFA brochure "Can I, Can't I" explains some of the restrictions which apply during the Fire Danger Period.

All enquiries relating to fire prevention matters can be directed to the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer on (03) 5391 4444.

FIRE BAN DISTRICTS

The Hindmarsh Shire falls within the Wimmera Fire Ban District.

Total Fire Bans are declared by the CFA on days when fires are likely to spread rapidly and be difficult to control. Victoria is divided into nine fire ban districts.

For further information and to download a fire districts map and municipality list visit the CFA website.

BUSHFIRE PLANNING ON YOUR PROPERTY

Every landowner has a responsibility to ensure they take necessary steps in reducing the risk of bushfire on their property and to reduce the risk of injury or damage to other persons or property.

The Hindmarsh Planning Scheme provides for bushfire regulation in the municipality, along with a range of local and state legislation. Property owners should be aware of their requirements under the law. If your property/dwelling falls within a Bushfire Management Overlay, the planning provisions allow for a range of approved measures for bushfire protection. This includes allowances for creating defendable space (i.e. removal of vegetation under specified clearance rules).

Bushfire protection can also be achieved through other means, such as the way you site and construct your dwelling, the way adjoining land is managed and the level of access to water supply and roads.

Think before you remove! If you are not sure about what your legal requirements are, please contact the Council’s Planning Department on (03) 5391 4444.

BUSHFIRE MANAGEMENT OVERLAY

The Bushfire Management Overlay identifies areas where bushfire hazard warrants bushfire protection measures to be implemented. The purpose of the overlay is to ensure that development of land prioritises the protection of human life and strengthens community resilience to bushfire. To find out if your property is in a Bushfire Management Overlay visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

Further information:

  • Hindmarsh Planning Scheme - clauses 52.47 (Planning for Bushfire) and 52.48 (Bushfire Protection) and 44.06 (Bushfire Management Overlay).

If you believe that trees or vegetation need better management on Council owned land, please complete and submit a customer request or contact Council on (03) 5391 4444.

PROPERTY INSPECTIONS AND FIRE PREVENTION NOTICES

Prior to the summer fire danger period, Municipal Fire Prevention Officers conduct inspections of properties throughout the municipality. Owners of properties, where Fire Prevention works are required, will be contacted by letter seeking their co-operation in ensuring that their property does not present a fire hazard to adjoining properties.  Additional compliance processes are available to Council if required.

To report a property as a potential fire hazard, please do so by completing our customer request form.

FIRE RESTRICTIONS

During the CFA Declared Fire Danger Period, burning off in the open air, other than for cooking purposes or warmth/comfort is prohibited.  During a day of Total Fire Ban no fires can be lit. A zero tolerance approach is taken to the deliberate or reckless lighting of fires during the Declared Fire Danger Period and serious fines apply for breaches of these regulations. The Declared Fire Danger Period is announced by the CFA and generally runs from October to April each year.

Council declares its own 'fire restriction period' in the lead up to the Fire Danger Period. Council's fire restriction period is now in place. This means that a Council permit will be required for any open air burning throughout the Shire. Upon receiving a permit, burning will be allowed up until the Fire Danger Period is declared by the CFA.  

To obtain a permit you can begin the process by filling in this form

All other inquiries relating to fire prevention can be directed to the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer on (03) 5391 4444.

COMMUNITY INFORMATION GUIDES

Community Information Guides (formerly Township Protection Plans) are a key source of information for the community, and an important tool to emphasise the shared responsibility between the community, fire services and local government.

Guides have been developed for a community in Hindmarsh Shire that is deemed to be at risk of bushfire or grassfire:

  • Dimboola

This guide can be viewed on the Country Fire Authority (CFA) website.

PLANNING AND PREPARING FOR A FIRE

The CFA has various amounts of information, checklists, templates and flyers on their website to help you better plan for fire in and around your home. These can be viewed at the CFA website.

BUSHFIRE PLANNING BY COUNCIL

Council is responsible for the preparation of a Municipal Fire Management Plan which identifies actions and responsibilities for various agencies including Council in the management of fire risk within the municipality.

Council adopted the latest version of the Hindmarsh Municipal Fire Plan at its meeting on 20 December 2017.

The preparation of the plan is overseen by the Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee (MFMPC) which has representatives of the key agencies responsible for fire management within the shire including the CFA and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). The key emphasis within the plan concerns the threat posed from bushfire.

One of the actions identified for Council is the slashing of key roadsides and other areas to assist in mitigating the risks associated with bushfire. VicRoads also assists by undertaking similar slashing works on all of its highways throughout the municipality.

Council’s Municipal Fire Prevention Officers also inspect residential properties across the Shire throughout the fire season and Fire Prevention Notices are issued to residents where fuel reduction works such as mowing and spraying are required.

DELWP are responsible for bushfire mitigation works on public land within the municipality. 

ROADSIDE SLASHING

Fire readiness is a high priority for Hindmarsh Shire Council. Roadside slashing forms part of a range of fire prevention activities which are undertaken in consultation with the CFA and are guided by Council’s Municipal Fire Management Plan.

Roadside slashing by Council is undertaken September - December each year, depending on weather conditions.

VicRoads undertakes slashing on roadsides for which they are responsible, during the same period.

For further information please contact Council's Municipal Fire Prevention Officer on (03) 5391 4444.

Flood

The following links provide important information and tips for effective preparation.

Flood Safe
Flood Victoria
VicEmergency website
Emergency Prepare

The Wimmera Catchment Management Authority has conducted flood investigations and studies to prepare maps showing information for affected areas. Visit their website to view this information.

Heatwave

HEAT KILLS MORE AUSTRALIANS THAN ANY NATURAL DISASTER

Know the effects of extreme heat, who is at risk and how you can prepare yourself and others.

More people have died during extreme heat than in any natural disaster. In the 2009 Victoria heatwave 374 people died and almost eighty percent of these were over 65 years of age. This year, we are expecting a hot summer, and that could mean more deaths and illness from extreme heat.

During extreme heat it is easy to become dehydrated or for your body to overheat. If this happens , you may develop heat cramps, heat exhaustion or even heatstroke. Heatstroke is a medical emergency which can result in permanent damage to your vital organs, or even death, if not treated immediately.

With heatwaves becoming a regular feature of the Victorian summer, it's important to plan ahead and consider how you can look after yourself and others when the extreme heat hits.

WHO IS AT RISK?

Extreme heat can affect anybody however the people most at risk are:

  • aged over 65 years, especially those living alone.
  • people with a medical condition such as diabetes, kidney disease or mental illness.
  • Taking medications that may affect the way the body reacts to heat such as: allergy medicines (antihistamines); blood pressure and heart medicines (beta-blockers); seizure medicines (anticonvulsants); water pills (diuretics); antidepressants or antipsychotics.
  • pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
  • babies and young children.
  • overweight or obese people.
  • people with problematic alcohol or drug use.
  • people with a disability.
  • people who have trouble moving around such as those who are bed-bound or in wheelchairs.
  • people who work or exercise outdoors.
  • people who have recently arrived from cooler climates.

PLAN AHEAD FOR EXTREME HEAT

There are simple things that you can do to prepare for extreme heat:

  • stock up on food, water and medicines so that you don't have to go out in the heat.
  • store medicines safely at the recommended temperature.
  • check that your fan or air-conditioner works well. Have your air-conditioner serviced if necessary.
  • look at things you can do to make your home cooler; such as installing window coverings, shade cloths or external blinds on the sides of the house facing the sun.

Further information can be found at www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/heat.

Storm

Storms can cause serious damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure. They can happen anywhere, at any time of the year, and it is important to be prepared for things like strong winds, lightning, large hailstones or excessive rain (for more information about preparing for a flood, visit our flooding section).

For more information about how to prepare for a storm, visit the Storm Safe website.

For more information about weather warnings, visit the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) Website.