Treat bushfire plan like putting on a seatbelt

People need to recognise they cannot outrun or outlast a bushfire, so they have to outsmart it, says Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan.

WESTERN Australians, including Yanchep and Gingin residents are being asked to treat a bushfire survival plan like putting on a seatbelt in a car – it should be second nature and could save your life.

Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan said just 16 per cent of Western Australians had discussed with their families how they would survive a bushfire, according to research conducted by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

At the Are You Ready? launch Mr Logan said the new DFES Fire Chat tool, available online and in hard copy, would help individuals and families create a simple survival plan in five minutes.

The Fire Chat questionnaire guides home owners through if they know when to leave, where they would go and which way they would go.

Mr Logan said Western Australians faced bushfires every year but were not doing enough to be prepared.

“If you live in an area close to or surrounded by bush, you need to start treating a bushfire survival plan like putting on a seatbelt in your car,’’ he said.

“It has to become second nature.

“And just like buckling up, a little bit of time taken to be ready for what’s coming could well save your life.

“This year’s Fire Chat tool is a straight forward and easy-to-follow plan and I believe, if it’s put in place, it will make a huge difference.

“Get it done and you can get on with life knowing that if a bushfire threatened, you can stay in control by following the plan instead of trying to think on-the-spot about what to do in an extremely stressful situation.

“There is also a significant responsibility on people to realise that if they fail to prepare their properties for a bushfire, not only are they putting themselves at risk of losing their homes or worse, they are creating a hazard for their neighbours and surrounding communities.

“Home owners cannot rely on having volunteers around every corner ready to risk their lives to stop a fire that may have been preventable.

“Western Australia is set for another challenging bushfire season, with the South-West recording its driest autumn in five years, so we need to recognise that we cannot outrun or outlast a bushfire, so we have to outsmart it.”