In responding to the recommendations, the State has developed a model for Neighbourhood Safer Places, which play a critical role as a place of last resort for those whose bushfire survival plan has been interrupted or failed.
Local government, the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and CFA have developed and maintained an essential partnership to establish Neighbourhood Safer Places. These strong and effective relationships, supported by communication at all levels, have put in place an effective business system and have been critical to establishing Neighbourhood Safer Places.
A significant milestone has been achieved with over 220 Neighbourhood Safer Places now designated around Victoria. In choosing these sites, local municipal committees and CFA assessed approximately 800 sites that local government considered for potential Neighbourhood Safer Places.
CFA assessments included determining the vegetation type, assessing the vegetation fuel loads and the potential radiant heat impact on the site. CFA gave these assessments to local government, who then decided whether the sites were suitable based on the combined advice from CFA and municipal emergency management committees.
Director of Community Safety, Terry Hayes, said it is important to understand Neighbourhood Safer Places are seen as a shelter option in high-risk areas.
“By definition, high-risk areas have limitations and need alternative options such as Neighbourhood Safer Places. Even as places of last resort, it is important to note that sites for Neighbourhood Safer Places can also be difficult to locate because of the very nature of the high-risk area.
“Whilst 800 assessments point to a significant volume of work, they also reinforce to us that high-risk areas have limited safety options. These limitations need to be understood by the community to ensure a strong focus on leaving early on days of high bushfire risk,” Terry added.
About Neighbourhood Safer Places
Neighbourhood Safer Places are places of last resort when all other plans have failed. They are not places to relocate to when leaving early. They may provide some protection from direct flame contact and radiant heat during a bushfire.
Neighbourhood Safer Places may still be subject to extreme conditions such as; heat, high winds, ember attack, radiant heat, smoke and ash and they do not guarantee safety. There are limited facilities and support or services may not be provided.
Please note that not every town has a
Designated Neighbourhood Safer Places are listed here.