The Dandenong Ranges is one of the most beautiful places in the world. And for a few days each year, our decision to live in this hilly, eucalypt forest environment, in summer, brings with it an obvious risk. A sensible, achievable Personal Bushfire Safety Plan is an important tool in a bushfire emergency.
The CFA’s community education facilitators encourage residents to write out their Personal Bushfire Safety Plans; as your doctors, we agree.
The CFA offers a wealth of information and your local brigade or the CFA website should be your starting point. From a medical perspective, we recommend that on every day of Total Fire Ban, patients should plan to have:
Patients should not underestimate the toll that bushfire conditions can take on the body, both physically and emotionally – prior, during and after the emergency. People will understandably be frightened and angry, and their emotional response can overwhelm
the sensible responses that they otherwise have.
So we encourage our patients to consider their medical needs and physical limitations and incorporate them into their Personal Bushfire Safety Plan. To paraphrase a local brigade captain at a recent community bushfire awareness meeting, ‘the best way to avoid being injured in a bushfire is not to be anywhere near a bushfire: Leave in the morning on any high risk day’.
The Hills Medical has a policy that on Code Red days, our premises will be closed and appointments rescheduled.
A few important points to remember when in any stressful situation on a very hot day: