The Warrandyte Community Association has teamed up with the CFA, SES, Nillumbik and Manningham councils and Red Cross in urging Warrandytians to use the cooler winter months to maintain their properties in order to stay safe in case of fire, floods and storms.
“In the past, preparedness messages have been broadcast just before the anticipated bushfire season, not leaving too much time before fire restrictions kick in,” said Dick Davies, president of the Warrandyte Community Association.
North Warrandyte CFA captain Mick Keating admits he was one of the residents caught out last year when the re restrictions came into force in October, causing a mad scramble to get his property cleaned up ahead of the fire danger.
“Start cleaning up now for next year’s summer, rather than wait – because if it does come out early again you can get caught out very quickly,” Captain Keating said.
CFA community safety manager Tammy Garrett said this was the ideal time to get properties prepared, saying: “If you do it bit by bit, an hour on this weekend and an hour on that weekend, it doesn’t take as much as it would if you try and do it all at once.” Manningham City Council emergency management officer Helen Napier said while the focus for Warrandyte was generally about preparing for bushfire, the impact of floods and storms could be just as devastating.
“I think that sometimes people forget about the other hazards, and there is still the potential in some areas for that to impact just as much – the consequences are similar, you can be displaced, you might not have a home to live in, so the ow on effects can be the same as a bush fire,” she said.
SES community education officer Sue Whitten says there are things that can be done to mitigate the risks.
“Cleaning out the gutters and ensuring things like overhanging branches are checked regularly, making sure anything on your property is tied down… making sure that drains are kept clean, that any debris that comes down from the storm doesn’t end up in the drains and cause backlog and then potential for flooding,” said Ms Whitten.
Emergency management officer for Nillumbik council, Justin Murray, suggests it’s not just a clean-up that needs to be considered, but planning your garden to minimise risk is important when planting around your house.
“If people are designing gardens or making changes, have consideration to what that would look like, not only now in the short term, but also in the long term with regards to how vegetation develops and grows and also to consider what sort of vegetation they are putting in especially close to their dwellings,” Mr Murray said.
To get rid of green waste, residents have a number of options, either take green waste to council collection facilities, or larger properties, over 0.4ha, are able to burn off outside the fire restriction period, however smaller properties must obtain a permit from their local council.
Justin Murray said smaller blocks in Nillumbik were only permitted to burn off from October, so another option open to those residents is to pay for a second green bin.
“If one bin isn’t sufficient for you then the option is to have an additional one; so phone council to arrange that,” he said.
“There is no charge for the additional collection, but there is a small charge for the provision of the bin.”