Myths busted in new emergency campaign

Canberrans are being reminded to Be Emergency Ready as the national outlook confirms a high risk of grass fires this summer.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman said the Be Emergency Ready campaign built on the ACTESA’s great work informing the community about how to respond during 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,” Minister 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.

“The 2020-21 National Seasonal Outlook from the the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre is predicting hot, wet weather conditions will continue through the fire season with high grass growth creating an above average risk for grass fires.

“Grass is very likely to dry out during January and February providing fuel for fires. It only takes a few days of hot, dry and windy weather to cure grass and make it flammable.”

ACT Rural Fire Service A/g Chief Officer Rohan Scott said the Be Emergency ready campaign promotes what to do if you’re threatened by a grass fire, and it’s not what Canberrans might be used to hearing.

“If a grass fire threatens property, most of the time staying inside a well-built structure is the safest place to be from a grass fire. 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,” Chief Officer Scott said.

“Grass fires start and move fast. Firefighters need to respond quickly and move their fire trucks safely around a suburb. We don’t want people in their cars fleeing an area, it’s unsafe and unnecessary.

“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.”

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