26 September 2023

New emergency campaign to beat dangers

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The ACT Emergency Services Agency (ACTESA) has launched a new campaign to bust myths and common misconceptions that could put people in danger during environmental emergencies.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Mick Gentleman said ACTESA’s Be Emergency Ready campaign built on its work to inform the community about how to respond to emergencies.

“Our Emergency Services Agency has observed several myths about emergencies while engaging with the Canberra community, including that grass fires are less dangerous than bushfires and that large trucks or SUVs can safely drive through floodwaters,” Mr Gentleman said.

“This new campaign addresses common misconceptions with facts about grassfires, bushfires, extreme heat, storms and floods to provide Canberrans with a better understanding of natural hazard and what to do during an emergency,” he said.

“The 2020-2021 National Seasonal Outlook from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre is predicting that hot, wet weather conditions are to continue through the fire season with high grass growth creating an above average risk for grass fires.”

Mr Gentleman said grass was very likely to dry out during January and February and could provide fuel for fires.

“It only takes a few days of hot, dry and windy weather to cure grass and make it flammable,” the Minister said.

Acting Chief Officer of ACT Rural Fire Service, Rohan Scott said that if grass fire threatened property, staying inside a well-built structure was usually the safest place to be.

“In the worst situations ACTESA might ask a select number of building occupants to leave the area by foot and walk two streets away from the grass fire,” A/g Chief Officer Scott said

“Grass fires start and move fast,” he said.

“We don’t want people in their cars fleeing an area, it’s unsafe and unnecessary.”

A/g Chief Officer Scott said firefighters needed to respond quickly and move their fire trucks safely around a suburb.

“That’s why we need the community to understand how to best respond in an emergency, so that everyone can help emergency services keep Canberra safe,” he said.

Further information on how to prepare for an emergency can be accessed on the ACTESA’s website at this PS News link.

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