Step 4: when a bushfire starts

Published on 14 October 2021

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MidCoast Council is encouraging all MidCoast residents to take the five simple steps to prepare for bushfires this year, and to make sure they have register their Get Ready plan online.

“We want every home on the MidCoast to have a bushfire survival plan this year, so make sure you, your family and your neighbours Get Ready following the steps on your household copy of the Get Ready plan at haveyoursay.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/getready and the NSW RFS recommendations,” said Mayor David West.

A five week campaign is underway to guide you through the five steps to Get Ready, focussing this week on step 4 – be aware of bushfire alerts around you, especially during the fire danger season.

“The first way to keep updated is to watch for the NSW RFS Fire Danger Ratings, which are issued daily and are specific for your area. Roadside Fire Danger ratings signs are located throughout the MidCoast, or you can check the fire information each day at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au,” said Mayor West.

“As the fire danger ratings increase, you should be following your bushfire safety plan. At severe and extreme ratings, the safest option is to leave early – don’t wait to see what happens.

“At a catastrophic fire danger rating, your only option is to leave early. No homes are built to withstand fires in catastrophic conditions and it is not safe to stay and defend your home.”

During a bushfire, the RFS will issue alerts, which give you an indication of the level of threat from a fire. The Advice alert means a fire has started, and there is no immediate danger. You should stay up to date in case the situation changes.

The Watch and Act alert means there is a heightened level of threat and conditions are changing. You need to start enacting your bushfire survival plan.

The Emergency Warning alert is the highest level of bushfire alert. You may be in danger and need to take action now.

“The RFS says you should not wait for an alert – some fires start and spread so quickly there may not be any time for a warning. Remember, leaving early is the safest option for your survival,” said Mayor West.

“Downloading the fires near me app to your phone is one of the best ways to make sure you know when a fire starts, you can set to be alerted when a fire starts near you.”

Otherwise, stay aware at the RFS website, via the RFS information phone line 1800 679 737 or via the NSW RFS social media sites.

During a fire emergency, you should tune into the emergency radio broadcaster, ABC 95.5FM.

You can subscribe to Council’s weekly News Wrap email newsletter to follow the step-by-step guide to Get Ready this year at: http://eepurl.com/gYTz5X.

If you are recovering from bushfires, please visit midcoast.nsw.gov.au/bushfirerecovery or call 7955 7777. If reminders of the bushfires are causing issues for you, please call the Mental Healthline on 1800 011 511.