SA Country Fire Service

Media release

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Emotional time for community


Research into the experiences of the community during the Sampson Flat bushfire is being previewed tonight at a community meeting in Tea Tree Gully.

After the Sampson Flat fire in January 2015, SA Country Fire Service commissioned the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre and Central Queensland University Appleton Institute to investigate how people prepared and responded to this serious bushfire.

"CFS conducts this research to ensure it documents any lessons from major events, so we as a fire service, and as a community can learn from it," said CFS Chief Officer Greg Nettleton.

Although the final report has not been released, CFS wanted to share the outcomes so far with the impacted community before the start of this Fire Danger Season.

"The report shows a large number of people had Bushfire Survival Plans in place and many had prepared their homes for a bushfire, they should be congratulated for this effort," Mr Nettleton said.

Of concern is that only a quarter of residents had a written bushfire plan and two thirds of people had no plan or had made plans that could potentially expose them to late evacuation. Furthermore, although many people received the Emergency Warning messages to take shelter in the peri-urban area, many did not understand the message and panicked.

"There are many things people can do to prepare their homes for bushfires, but not many people appreciate the fear and anxiety that bushfire brings. This can cause people to change their plans at the last minute," said CFS Chief Officer Greg Nettleton.

"Although CFS has conducted many Community Fire Safe groups in the Sampson Flat area, as well as Bushfire Ready programs, it's obvious from this research that we need to put more emphasis on being emotionally prepared for bushfire."

"CFS will continue to raise awareness about the risk of bushfires, especially in peri-urban areas, where it seems many people don't see themselves living in a bushfire prone area."

SA Country Fire Service and lead researcher Danielle Every will be available for comment at 2pm. Please call the CFS Media Unit 088212 9849 for details.

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Media information
For media enquiries call the CFS Media Line on 08 8115 3531.

Government of South Australia