When living in a high fire risk area your first priority will be the safety of your immediate family and protection of your home. However, once you have this in hand you may want to develop survival strategies in conjunction with your neighbours or on behalf of a community group you belong to (such as Scouts, Girl Guides, Rotary, Friends of National Parks, Bushcare, Landcare etc). By working together with your neighbours or group you will be in a better position to prepare for fires, thereby increasing your chances of survival.
Community strategies may include:
- making plans to care for young children, elderly and disabled people in the street in the event of a bushfire,
- making plans for your pets and your neighbours' pets,
- nominating a house in the street most likely to survive a bushfire for others to shelter in,
- developing phone trees to improve the chance of receiving an early warning if there is a bushfire in the area,
- organising working bees to reduce fuel hazards,
- improving access between properties,
- becoming familiar with each others fire fighting equipment,
- organising bulk buying of fire fighting equipment,
- developing a neighbourhood resource list,
- being aware of each others bushfire survival plans and sharing ideas and innovations
- researching the fire history in your area,
- working together with the CFS Community Engagement team to learn how fires behave and how they destroy homes,
- conducting a street to walk with your local brigade to identify fire hazards,
- producing a map of your area, identifying property owners, local dams and other water supplies and providing a copy to your local CFS brigade,
- checking with the local school to find out what they plan to do in the event of a fire,
- making your property firefighter-friendly - can fire appliances fit through gates and reach water supplies etc?
- establishing a creche to free up adults to patrol against spark and ember attack,
- creating a library of CFS brochures, fact sheets and pamphlets for you and your neighbours (and check back on the website regularly to keep it current).
The Community Fire Safe Program is designed to assist residents living in high bushfire threat areas by forming community action groups.
These groups may consist of just a few families living in the same street or area who face a common bushfire threat. With the assistance of a CFS Community Education Officer, residents learn about fire behaviour and bushfire preparedness. Community Fire Safe Groups develop survival plans and community strategies that reduce the bushfire threat and increase the community's preparedness. These meetings are not published publicly.
An established Community Fire Safe group may look beyond their own small group and begin networking with other community groups, local councils, government agencies and non-government environmental groups to work together on fire prevention and land management issues
Joint community/agency strategies might include:
- assisting local councils with the maintenance of roadside vegetation and fire breaks,
- working with local council to organise the disposal of garden refuse,
- lobbying local council and government agencies for particular fire prevention works to be undertaken,
- organising information sessions with other agencies such as SA Water, Forestry SA, National Parks and Wildlife Service on fire behaviour and fire management in adjacent bushland,
- establishing a Landcare site or join an existing group,
- Volunteer in a Natural Resource Management program,
- promoting CFS community programs to other organisations and agencies.