Water supply essential

ACCESS to water supplies and up-to-date information are vital to bushfire survival this summer.
On high fire risk day people should make sure they know what is happening in the area at all times by listening to the radio, visiting the CFA website or calling the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.
In the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley where fires can move quickly into residential areas, it is also important for people to begin monitoring fire activity early in the day.
Jeff Adair CFA Yarra area manager said people should try not to panic when they become aware of a bushfire in their area but should stay calm and find out more information about the fire.
The CFA in partnership with the Department of Sustainability and Environment has set up some highly skilled teams to give current and up-to-date information to people during major fires.
These teams will work closely with people managing the fire and regularly release critical information through local radio stations, websites and a statewide call centre.
Mr Adair said people should make sure they have a battery operated radio so they can keep up with the information bulletins.
“Don’t rely on mains power as it will almost certainly fail during a fire in the Dandenongs and parts of the Yarra Valley,” he said.
The CFA is also warning that a lack of rainfall across the state could have disastrous consequences this summer.
People are also being urged to include adequate access to water in their bush fire survival plan.
John Schauble, CFA community spokesman, said having an independent water supply is the only way to ensure people have water to defend their home when threatened by fire.
“Many dams are very low this year. People need to be sure they can get water to defend their homes,” he said.
“Even if you have access to it, don’t rely on mains water during a bushfire.
“Water pressure may be poor as everyone in your area, including the fire brigade, will draw on it to fight the fire.”
Mr Schauble said a rainwater tank is ideal but other options to store water include swimming pools or even rubbish bins and wheelbarrows placed at various locations around the house.
People who live in a high risk fire area are urged to develop a bushfire survival plan and make the decision to stay and fight or leave early.
For more information on how to prepare for a bushfire, call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.