January 14, 2019

Fire Safety: Be Prepared

Victoria is one of the most fire-prone areas in the world and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) has declared the Fire Danger Period in our Municipality well and truly upon us.

Northern Health has been advised that Tuesday, 15 January has been declared a Severe fire danger day in the North Central District.

These conditions may have a serious impact on Northern Health and our community, and have the potential to place patients, staff, volunteers and other workplace participants at risk.

On this day, hospital services at Northern Hospital Epping, Broadmeadows Hospital, Bundoora and Craigieburn will continue as normal. Home visiting services will not be provided outside of the major urban areas affected by the rating after 10am, and there will be restrictions on staff attending the Kilmore and Seymour Hospitals.

It is anticipated that emergency department attendances will increase with the high temperatures, and there is the risk that in the event of severe bushfires, Northern Hospital Epping may need to treat bushfire casualties.

Northern Health has a clear policy outlining operations on fire danger days, highlighting fire danger ratings and potential changes to Northern Health services. It also includes where to find information, radio stations that car radios should be tuned to on days of high fire danger, and how to act on those days.

According to the CFA, radiant heat is the biggest killer in a fire. It is the heat you feel from a fire and the CFA strongly advise the best protection is distance.

Michael Vermeulen from the Yarrambat CFA (and also a member of our Northern Pathology Victoria team) says fires are unpredictable and it’s important to always be prepared for Victoria’s hot, dry summers.

VicEmergency and CFA websites display Incidents and Warnings. You can download the VicEmergency App to receive notifications of fire incidents and warnings in their area. Alternatively, you can ring the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226 (Ring 000 if it’s a life-threatening emergency).

For staff and patients who live in fire prone areas, the CFA website has some great tips for preparing for a fire.

Some final points to remember:

  • Understand your risk (bush or grassland)
  • Have a survival plan, know your triggers, review it, practice it, do it
  • Plan for pets and livestock
  • Stay informed and understand the levels of emergency warnings
  • Connect with your neighbours and help them plan if needed
  • Prepare your property for fire