As Queenslanders, we are no strangers to the threat of bushfires. The past few years have seen some of the most devastating bushfire seasons in our history, with the “Black Summer” of 2019 etched into our memories. This year, the stakes are even higher as an El Niño weather event has been officially declared, indicating the potential for a severe bushfire season. As a body corporate, it’s crucial to ensure that your community is well-prepared to face this looming threat. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of being prepared for bushfire season and provide valuable tips for safeguarding your community.
Understanding the El Niño Effect
El Niño is a weather phenomenon characterized by the warming of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, leading to significant changes in weather patterns around the world. In Queensland, El Niño events often result in drier and hotter conditions, creating ideal conditions for bushfires to thrive. The 2019-2020 bushfire season, exacerbated by an El Niño event, was one of the most catastrophic in recent history. With another El Niño event declared, it’s crucial to take proactive measures.
Lessons from the “Black Summer”
The “Black Summer” of 2019 was a wake-up call for all Australians. It reminded us of the destructive power of bushfires and the need for comprehensive preparation. Here are some key takeaways from that devastating season:
- Early Preparation is Essential: Waiting until the fire is at your doorstep is not an option. Early preparation can make a significant difference in ensuring the safety of your community.
- Communication Matters: Effective communication within the community and with relevant authorities is crucial during a bushfire emergency. Having a well-established communication plan is essential.
- Clear Evacuation Plans: Every community should have a clear and well-practiced evacuation plan in place. Ensure that residents are familiar with evacuation routes and assembly points.
- Property Maintenance: Regular property maintenance, such as clearing debris and creating firebreaks, can help reduce the risk of fires spreading.
Preparing Your Body Corporate for the 2023 Bushfire Season
Now, let’s focus on what your body corporate management company can do to prepare for the upcoming bushfire season:
- Risk Assessment: Begin by conducting a thorough risk assessment of your community. Identify vulnerable areas, assess the proximity to bushland, and evaluate the condition of properties.
- Community Education: Educate residents about the elevated bushfire risk this year and the importance of individual and collective preparedness. Share information about fire bans and restrictions.
- Firebreaks and Clearing: Collaborate with local authorities to establish firebreaks and clear vegetation around your community. Ensure that residents are aware of their responsibilities in maintaining their properties.
- Emergency Response Plan: Develop a comprehensive emergency response plan tailored to your community’s needs. Include evacuation routes, assembly points, and contact information for relevant authorities.
- Communication Channels: Establish multiple communication channels to keep residents informed during emergencies. This could include text alerts, email updates, and community notice boards.
- Community Drills: Organize regular bushfire evacuation drills to ensure that residents are familiar with the procedures and routes.
- Fireproofing: Encourage residents to take proactive steps to fireproof their properties, such as installing ember guards, sealing gaps, and using fire-resistant materials.
- Support Services: Connect with local support services, such as fire brigades and emergency shelters, to ensure a coordinated response in case of a bushfire.
- Insurance Review: Ensure that your community has appropriate insurance coverage that includes bushfire protection.
- Emergency Kits: Encourage residents to prepare emergency kits containing essential supplies like water, non-perishable food, first-aid items, and important documents.
Queensland strata communities have a vital role to play in preparing their properties for the potentially severe bushfire season ahead. By taking proactive measures, educating residents, and fostering a culture of preparedness, we can mitigate the risks associated with bushfires and protect our communities. Let’s learn from the lessons of the past and work together to ensure the safety and resilience of our neighbourhoods in the face of this challenging bushfire season.
For more information Bushfire Preparedness check out this article – Is Your Body Corporate Prepared For Bushfire Season?
Don’t forget in an emergency situation call:
- Flood/Storm/Bushfire Emergency – call the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500
- Life Threatening Emergency – call 000
- Non-Emergency SES Enquiries – click here