A range of events and activities were held across the state in October and November by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) to encourage bushfire preparedness.
The events coincided with the start of the ‘Are You Ready?’ bushfire awareness campaign and Bushfire Action Month in October, and included street meets, property walk throughs, fire station open days and information sessions.
Butler Station Officer Paul Jagger said the open day held at the new Butler Fire Station on Saturday 24 October was a resounding success amongst the local community, with more than 600 people attending.
“The focus of the day was on providing advice to people on how to prepare for bushfire season, as well as home fire safety,” Paul said.
“We’re gearing up for a tough season but preparing and responding to bushfires is very much a team effort.
“Everyone needs to play their part and events like our open day help to educate people on the practical steps they can take.”
A community street meet and property walk-throughs were held in Argyle near the Lower South West town of Donnybrook on the same day, organised by the new Argyle Bushfire Ready group.
DFES Community Engagement Officer Stephanie Green said around 70 community members attended the event.
“District Officer Phil Brandrett and I talked to residents about the issues and responsibilities of living on the rural urban fringe, and about their personal and property preparedness,” Stephanie said.
“Many residents were also able to review the results of property assessments conducted during a training exercise by volunteer firefighters from Argyle Irishtown Bush Fire Brigade (BFB), Donnybrook Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service, and Hester Brook and Lowden BFBs.
“These assessments contained valuable information for residents that could help them improve their property preparedness and defendability.
“It also provided an opportunity for brigade members to pass on critical local knowledge, which was well received by the community. Residents were able to ask questions and said they found the information very useful.”
Multiple street meets were also held in Yallingup on Saturday 14 November including property walk-throughs led by DFES Area Officer Andy Wright and Community Emergency Services Manager Tim Wall from the City of Busselton.
Stephanie said the events were organised by the Yallingup Bushfire Ready facilitators in collaboration with DFES.
“The meets involved discussion about assessing risks and preparing properties, bushfire survival plans, emergency kits, and emergency access routes and safer places.
“We also talked about keeping informed during a bushfire and local risks and responsibilities, with fantastic local knowledge provided by the Yallingup Rural BFB.”
A new joint initiative between DFES, WA Police and Horseland saw bushfire information sessions held at Horseland stores in Bunbury, Maddington, Midland and Perth on Wednesday 4 November, with more than 100 people attending.
Cheryl Campbell from Horseland Midland said the information session held at her store last year was such a success that the other WA stores were keen to get involved this year.
“Horse owners are very passionate about their animals and these information sessions are a great way to provide them with the information and tools they need to keep themselves and their horses safe during a bushfire,” Cheryl said.
“We’re hoping to build further on the interest in these sessions and make them a regular community event, so we can keep horse owners well informed of their risks and responsibilities.”
A range of other bushfire preparedness events were held in the Perth metropolitan, South West, Lower South West, Great Southern and Midwest Gascoyne regions, to encourage bushfire preparedness ahead of what is set to be a challenging bushfire season.