Emergency services preparing for higher-risk weather season

30 August 2022
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp at a podium with several microphones. An Auslan interpreter gestures beside him. Behind them are three emergency service heads in uniform.

Victoria’s emergency management sector is working together to prepare for the higher risk weather season.  

From September, multi-agency preparedness briefings will roll out across Victoria, so personnel understand the outlook, know the risks, and are prepared to respond and work with communities to keep them safe.  

Training and exercises will also take place at both a state and local level to ensure emergency management personnel are well trained and prepared. 

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast above median rainfall through spring, with the period September to November likely to be above median for the northern part of Victoria. 

The Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Spring (External link), released last week, indicates varying fire risk across Victoria. Forests in the Wimmera and south-west may become drier with the forecast of higher-than-average day and night temperatures, potentially increasing the fire risk in those areas. 

Communities are being urged to understand their local risk and prepare for fires, floods and storms. Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said, “As a sector, we’re getting prepared, but my question to Victorians is: are you prepared?”  

“What is the plan you are putting in place for yourself, your family, pets and livestock?" Mr Crisp said. "As part of your plan, think about the clear triggers and when you will enact your plan." 

The message is similar across the sector.  

Victoria State Emergency Service Chief Officer, Tim Wiebusch said “The last two years have been two of the busiest years in our organisation’s history."  
"Our SES volunteers have continued to answer the call and I thank each and every one of them for that as they once again prepare for a busy season ahead,” Mr Wiebusch said. “We’re also asking communities to have a plan in place. Start conversations with your family and household to discuss your options in the event of a storm or severe weather event."  

Country Fire Authority Chief Officer, Jason Heffernan reminded Victorians that we live in one of the most bushfire-prone areas in the world. "Even a normal fire season can present the risk of dangerous fires,” Mr Heffernan said. 

“CFA and its partner agencies are doing everything we can to keep every Victorian safe this fire season. However, we ask Victorians to help us by preparing their properties and heeding our advice." 

Forest Fire Management Victoria Chief Fire Officer, Chris Hardman said "We take every opportunity to manage bushfire risk 365 days a year, with different tools and methods, so we are well prepared for the bushfire season." 

"Even an outlook for average fire season must be taken seriously and requires detailed preparation," Mr Hardman said.  

Fire Rescue Victoria Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Tony O'Day reinforced the message by saying "As winter comes to an end, now is the best time to start thinking about the spring and summer fire season." 

"It’s important to understand your fire risk and get prepared now, not when a fire starts," Mr O'Day said.