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Emergency services preparing for higher-risk weather season

30 August 2022

Victoria’s emergency management sector continues to prepare for the higher risk weather season and Victorians are being urged to start actively preparing too. 

While it has been cold and wet in some parts of the state, it is time for individuals, families and communities to start thinking about preparedness – for fires, floods and storms – ahead of spring and summer.

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast above median rainfall through spring, with the period September to November likely to be above median for the northern part of Victoria. 

Emergency services are reminding communities to prepare for these conditions now, and to understand your local risk as we prepare for a wet spring.

The Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Spring, released last week indicates varying fire risk across Victoria. Forests in the Wimmera and south-west may become drier with the forecast of higher-than-average day and night temperatures, potentially increasing the fire risk in those areas.

Victorians are also urged to ensure they understand the new Australian Fire Danger Rating System, which will be in place from 1 September across Australia.

The new system has four ratings – Moderate, High, Extreme and Catastrophic and means that no matter where you live in Victoria or travel across Australia, the same system will be in place.

From September, there are a range of multi-agency preparedness briefings which will roll out across Victoria, so our people understand the outlook, know the risks, and are prepared to respond and work with communities to keep them safe.

Training and exercises are being held at both a state and local level to ensure emergency management personnel are well trained and prepared.

Quotes attributable to Emergency Management Commissioner, Andrew Crisp:
“The outlook suggests Victoria will have a wet start to spring and it’s important Victorians begin to plan for floods and storms, in the same way they prepare for potential fires.
“What is the plan you are putting in place for yourself, your family, pets and livestock? As part of your plan, think about the clear triggers and when you will enact your plan.
“The other piece is about information. Good information will always lead to good decisions and Victorians need to know how they can access good information – that’s through the VicEmergency app, social media, including Facebook and Twitter, and through emergency broadcasters.
“As a sector, we’re getting prepared, but my question to Victorians is: are you prepared?”

Quotes attributable to Victoria State Emergency Service Chief Officer, Tim Wiebusch:
“VICSES volunteers are highly trained and will be ready and prepared to respond to requests for assistance to flood and storm events as required, however we are asking communities to also prepare. Make sure you stay informed, and listen to the advice of emergency services as warnings are issued.
“We’re also asking communities to have a plan in place. Start conversations with your family and household to discuss your options in the event of a storm or severe weather event.
While we are expecting a wetter than average spring in some parts of the state, it’s vital Victorians ensure to never drive on flooded roads. It can take just 15cm of water to float a small car.
“It’s the single biggest cause of flood related fatalities in this country is people in their vehicles. Driving through Flood Waters could be the last decision you make.
“The last two years have been two of the busiest years in our organisation’s history and our SES volunteers have continued to answer the call and I thank each and every one of them for that as they once again prepare for a busy season ahead.”

Quotes attributable to Country Fire Authority Chief Officer, Jason Heffernan:
“CFA and its partner agencies are doing everything we can to keep every Victorian safe this fire season, however we ask Victorians to help us by preparing their properties and heeding our advice.
“Take the time to sit down with your family or household and make a fire plan to stay safe this fire season, especially if you live in an area with a high bushfire risk.
“Our state is one of the most bushfire-prone areas in the world and even a normal fire season can present the risk of dangerous fires.”
Quotes attributable to Forest Fire Management Victoria Chief Fire Officer, Chris Hardman:
“Victoria is one of the most bushfire prone areas of the world so even an outlook for average fire season must be taken seriously and requires detailed preparation. Forest Fire Management Victoria is working with all emergency sector partners to manage bushfire risk, prepare communities and plan rapid response to bushfires.
"We take every opportunity to manage bushfire risk 365 days a year, with different tools and methods, so we are well prepared for the bushfire season.
“We also encourage visitors to our parks and forests to work with us to prevent bushfires from starting and pay attention to campfire safety all year round. Unattended campfires can spread quickly and have devastating impacts on communities and the environment.”

Quotes attributable to Fire Rescue Victoria Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Tony O'Day:
“As winter comes to an end, now is the best time to start thinking about the spring and summer fire season.
It’s important to understand your fire risk and get prepared now, not when a fire starts.
If you live on the urban fringe or near grasslands, you need to understand the risks with fast moving grassfires. If a fire starts in grasslands near your home, walk two streets back and keep clear of responding trucks.”

Media contact: EMV Media – 1300 287 289 or