Just 15 minutes could save your life this bushfire season

With the threat of a severe bushfire season, the Cook Government and fire authorities are appealing to the public to spend 15 minutes making a bushfire plan and be prepared.
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With the threat of a severe bushfire season, the Cook Government and fire authorities are appealing to the public to spend 15 minutes making a bushfire plan and be prepared.

Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson said research reveals more than a third of Western Australians believe there is no risk in their neighbourhood.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services launched its annual bushfire safety campaign today, which highlights how easy it is to make a plan which could save your life.

More than 93 per cent of WA is bushfire-prone, but research by DFES, after last bushfire season, found more than 40 per cent of respondents did not think they needed a plan because they thought they lived in a low-risk suburb.

The research indicated a further 27 per cent of respondents intended to create a bushfire plan using the DFES app, but still hadn't got around to it.

Recent blazes in Kings Park, Bold Park and Piara Waters have shown that even high-density suburban areas can be threatened by bushfires with burning embers capable of travelling up to 20km in strong winds.

Since early October, there have been 376 large bushfires that have burned more than 4.2 million hectares across the State, while 11 emergency warnings have been issued for blazes that threatened lives and homes.

With an early start to the bushfire season, the Cook Government and fire authorities recently announced the early activation of the aerial fleet to support firefighters.

The My Bushfire Plan app and website helps users make the critical choice of leaving early or staying to defend and has important prompts including what to do with pets, what is needed to evacuate and ensuring everyone in the household knows the plan and their role.

Visit www.mybushfireplan.wa.gov.au or download the app on the Apple Store or Google Play to create a bushfire plan.

The Cook Government is investing more than $140 million to upgrade emergency services vehicles and facilities across the State.  

Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson:

"With an early start to this year's bushfire season – one that is promising to be severe – it's imperative that every Western Australian household is ready to respond to the threat of a bushfire.

"Given the recent spate of fires it's disturbing that some Western Australians still don't seem to be getting the message – the time to prepare is now.

"To boost community safety the Cook Government is investing more than $140 million in providing new equipment and facilities to support our firefighters, as well as injecting $5.7 million into bushfire mitigation activities.

"We have activated our aerial fleet in response to the early start to the season and we are funding a Large Air Tanker (LAT) to be based in Western Australia to support ground crews.

"The LAT will operate alongside more than 30 other aircraft in our firefighting fleet.

"I want to take this opportunity to thank our emergency services personnel and volunteers across the State who have worked hard to prepare their communities for bushfire season.

"Now the focus is on all Western Australians to play their part and make a bushfire plan."

Comments attributed to Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM:

"Time is running out for Western Australians to get their bushfire plans in place before the hot, dry weather arrives in full force and ferocious fires are on our doorstep.

"Important questions to ask include what are your options to escape, where will you shelter if you can't leave, are your essential items in an easy to find location and do you have a battery operated radio to stay informed if you lose phone reception?

"The numbers are stark – more than 93 per cent of the State is bushfire prone yet only 1 per cent of households have a recorded bushfire plan.

"It only takes 15 minutes to make a bushfire plan and it could save your life. Don't leave it too late – prepare your plan now because making decisions while under threat is extremely difficult, stressful and dangerous."

Key statistics:

·       Bushfires have burnt more than 11 million hectares across WA since July.

·       According to DFES research in April 2023, a quarter of Western Australians believe they are well-prepared for a bushfire and 41 per cent feel they are not.

·       The top five suburbs for completed plans are Roleystone (264), Baldivis (203), Margaret River (188), Kalamunda (183) and Darlington (168).

·       Between 1 December 2022 and 31 March 2023, 2307 bushfires were reported across the State.

·       DFES issued 2,556 bushfire warnings last financial year.

·       1,357 bushfire mitigation treatments were completed by local government last financial year.