The City is in the process of checking everyone has cleared their fire breaks and reduced their fire loads in accordance with its annual Fire Control Notice, and in doing so has come across some shining lights for bushfire safety.
Volunteer firefighter Steve Leavy has worked hard to make sure he is ready should a bushfire threaten his Karnup property, as have many of his neighbours in and around Karri Street. Mr Leavy maintains his firebreaks, conducts hazard reduction burns and has established a bushfire protection zone around his house.
But he wasn’t always so organised. Nearly 10 years ago a bushfire came very close to his property and that spurred him to take action. He joined his local Singleton Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade and made sure he was informed about the best ways to prepare his property.
“The big issue is complacency,” Mr Leavy said. “We haven’t had that big fire come through here yet but when it does, it could be disastrous. Simple things like keeping your verge grass low, pruning trees up, removing ground fuel and making the most of restricted burning periods to burn off can make a big difference.”
Baldivis property owner Linda Cummins has not yet built on her land but is already well prepared having installed firebreaks and cut back any long grass on her property. She said she was well aware of the importance of being bushfire ready, not just for the safety of her home, but her neighbours’ as well.
“We have good relationships with our neighbours and we have to work together to ensure everyone’s safety,” Mrs Cummins said.
The City so far has issued 90 infringements this year for property owners who have not complied with the Fire Control Notice. Despite this, Mayor Barry Sammels said he was encouraged by the number of people who were doing the right thing.
“Properties like Steve’s and Linda’s deserve gold stars for the excellent work they have done,” Mr Sammels said. “The City of Rockingham is no stranger to bushfires and we need everyone to do their bit to make fighting fires easier for our emergency services. It’s not just people’s homes, but their lives that could be at risk and it’s much easier to take the steps now than when the fire is on your doorstep.”
For more information on how to ensure your property is best prepared for a bushfire and information on the Fire Control Notice, contact the City’s Emergency Services team on 9528 0333. Visit the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website for a copy of its Prepare Act Survive booklet.