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Black and white, not red all over

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January 06, 2017

President Shepparton Search & Rescue Michael D’Elia and Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley open the service's new facilities in Shepparton

Regional Victorians are being urged to be better prepared for extreme weather conditions this summer following the launch of the summer fire campaign last month.

Residents have been warned to brace for bush and grassfires and extreme heat, and be conscious of smoke health and water safety.

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said planning and preparation was fundamental to good decision-making and the key to saving lives in an emergency.

‘‘The potential consequences of fire mean the decisions you need to make — how you plan, prepare and respond — must be black and white,’’ he said.

‘‘People need to prepare their properties now, plan and make the critical decisions early on, so they know what they need to do if there is an emergency. There should be no grey area when it comes to fire.’’

Using black and white imagery and words, the summer campaign highlights that when it comes to safety, decisions must be black or white. It uses television commercials, radio and print advertising, digital and social media and weather partnerships to target regional communities in high-risk areas, people living on the outskirts of Melbourne and in large regional centres near open grasslands and people travelling throughout Victoria over summer.

Mr Lapsley said with the revised seasonal outlook predicting an above-average fire season across most of the state, grassfire would be one of Victoria’s biggest challenges this season, particularly in urban interface areas.

CFA chief officer Steve Warrington said monitoring the daily Fire Danger Rating forecasts would provide the trigger to decide when to leave early, based on how dangerous the conditions were predicted to be.

Forest Fire Management Victoria chief Stephanie Rotarangi said more than 600 project firefighters and more than 2000 staff with incident management roles would be working to keep communities safe.

‘‘Forest Fire Management Victoria crews have been preparing for the summer fire season, first by undertaking some planned burns in areas where the weather and fuel conditions have allowed us to do so,’’ Ms Rotarangi said.

Crews had worked on mechanical treatments too, such as mulching, slashing and mowing, to reduce the levels of grass and vegetation following the wet winter and spring.

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