SA Country Fire Service

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South Australians encouraged to know their closest Bushfire Safer Place and when to use it

19/10/2021

New statistics released by the SA Country Fire Service (CFS) show that nearly half (42 per cent) of South Australians living in bushfire prone areas don’t know the meaning of their local Bushfire Safer Place or where to find it.

The statistics come on the eve of the fire danger season, prompting authorities to encourage South Australians to research and practice their bushfire survival plan before an emergency occurs.

Acting Director Preparedness Operations, Joel Taggart said a Bushfire Safer Place is an identified area that can provide relative safety and be used as a location for people who live in the area or have planned to leave early from high-risk locations on a bad fire day or during a bushfire.

“Despite the fact that we’ve had catastrophic bushfires in our state over recent years, it’s quite worrying to know that people don’t fully comprehend the concept of our established Bushfire Safer Places,” Mr Taggart said.

“More often than not, they get confused with a Bushfire Last Resort Refuge which should not be used unless there is absolutely no other option.”

The data, gathered at the conclusion of last fire season, also shows that one in three (29 per cent) people are not aware of the meaning of a Bushfire Last Resort Refuge – with many people aged 18 to 39 appearing to confuse it with a Bushfire Safer Place.

A Bushfire Last Resort Refuge is a space or building which could be used as a last resort to shelter from a bushfire. However, they only provide a minimum level of protection and do not guarantee the survival of those who seek refuge there, nor will there be any respite facilities in such locations. It is also unlikely firefighting appliances will be in attendance at such Refuges.

Mr Taggart said a last resort refuge should only be used when a designated Bushfire Safer Place cannot be reached, or if a person’s Bushfire Survival Plan has failed.

“It’s critical that anyone who lives, works, or travels through an area where a bushfire can occur knows exactly where the safest place to seek shelter is, and that they have a plan,” Mr Taggart said.

“Get online now and identify where your nearest Bushfire Safer Place is; plan how you will get there, who will be with you and what you’ll bring. In many cases this Bushfire Safer Place will be the metropolitan Adelaide area or a large rural town.

“Don’t wait until the last minute, do your five-minute bushfire plan now.”

Minister for Emergency Services Vincent Tarzia said the communication of accurate and reliable information about Bushfire Safer Places was part of the Marshall Liberal Government’s $97.5 million response to the Keelty Review.

“Some of the state's high bushfire risk zones are much closer to the CBD than many realise,” Minister Tarzia said.

“All South Australians should check if their property is within the defined areas of a Bushfire Safer Place as Adelaide’s suburban fringe teeters on potentially dangerous bushfire zones.

"Play your part, know the risk in your area, and have a Bushfire Survival Plan in place, it takes just five minutes to complete.

"Preparation, careful planning and the use of bushfire awareness tools like the Alert SA App will save your life during an emergency.”

Learn more about Bushfire Safer Places: https://www.cfs.sa.gov.au/prepare-for-a-fire/bushfire-safer-places/

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For media enquiries telephone the CFS Media Line on (08) 8115 3531.

Further information:
Contact the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1800 362 361, for hearing or speech impaired users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 1800 362 361 or teletype service TTY 133 677 then ask for 1800 362 361.
Other options are available at National Relay Service.
Or visit www.cfs.sa.gov.au

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