Category Archives: Community Safety

Grassfires – Don’t get caught out

Grassfires can start anywhere and spread quickly.

Reduce your risk when it’s safe to do so. Slash, mow, graze and spray grass near your home and assets, and create fuel breaks. Take care when using chainsaws, lawnmowers, tractors, welders and other machinery on warm days – they can all start fires accidentally.

If you’re caught in a grassfire move to somewhere with minimal vegetation, such as a ploughed or well-grazed paddock. If you’re caught in a car, don’t get out and run. Tightly close windows and doors, cover up with woollen blankets, get down below window level, shut all vents, and turn the engine off. Check your Fire Danger Rating daily and check your Total Fire Ban status on warm days.


Understanding rural grassfire risk

  • Grassfires can start and spread quickly and are extremely dangerous.
  • Grassfires can travel up to 25 km per hour and pulse even faster over short distances.
  • Grass is a fine fuel and burns faster than bush or forests.
  • Grassfires tend to be less intense and produce fewer embers than bushfires, but still generate enormous amounts of radiant heat.
  • The taller and drier the grass, the more intensely it will burn.
  • The shorter the grass, the lower the flame height and the easier the fire will be to control.
  • Short grass (under 10cm) is a much lower risk.
  • Grassfires can start earlier in the day than bushfires, because grass dries out more quickly when temperatures are high.
  • Living in a grassland area with dried-out brown or golden-coloured grass that is over 10cm high is a fire risk. There are some exceptions, such as Phalaris grass, which will burn even when green.

For more information on how to manage your risk and what to do if caught in a grassfire please see



If you do only one thing this fire season

Speak to the CFA Tuesday 26th January at Gisborne Fire Station.

What: Fire Ready Safety Information Session

Where: Fire Station, 31 Robertson St, Gisborne (it’s the building with the big red trucks in it!)

When: 7:30pm to 8:30pm Tuesday 26th January 2016

You’ll get the latest information about how to prepare for fire season just around the next corner. Are you ready?

For more information call 1800 820 118, including if you need Auslan interpreting, are not fluent in english or need some assistance accessing the venue. The station is wheelchair friendly, with only small lips at each doorway. No steps or stairs.


Total Fire Ban

CFA has declared Total Fire Bans across all of Central district, including Gisborne for Wednesday, 25 November.

High winds and heat will also push Fire Danger Ratings into Extreme and Severe levels across much of the state, with the Mallee, Northern Country, Wimmera and North Central forecast as Extreme, while South West, Central and North East districts will be Severe.

CFA Chief Officer Joe Buffone said strong and gusty northwesterly winds peaking at up to 100km/hr were forecast before a gusty change in the afternoon in the west and central areas.

“Tomorrow we are expecting strong winds before a change in the late afternoon and possible dry thunderstorms,” he said.

“Although it has been a mild start to the week, we are bracing for a dangerous fire day tomorrow in most of the state.”

Between 00:01AM and 11.59PM on Wednesday no fire can be lit in the open air or be allowed to remain alight in the open air.

Mr Buffone urged families and households in fire risk areas to make sure they had covered all the key decisions about what will they will do if they have to leave quickly.

Please begin to think carefully about your own fire plam. A good resource is  to find out more about managing the risk you face.

Total Fire Ban in place for Tuesday 6/10/15

// <![CDATA[
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Tomorrow, Tue, 6 Oct 2015 has been declared a day of Total Fire Ban in the Mallee, Wimmera, South West, Northern Country, North Central and Central (includes Melbourne and Geelong) district(s) of Victoria.

No fires can be lit or be allowed to remain alight in the open air from 12:01 AM on Tue, 6 Oct 2015 until 11:59 PM Tue, 6 Oct 2015 in any part of the Macedon Ranges Shire

For further information, please visit or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.

Extreme fire weather predicted

In an early start to the fire season, Tuesday is predicted to be hot and dry, with an extreme fire danger predicted in the north central region. Gisborne is in the Central region, with a severe rating. Predictions and explanations of the ratings can be found at

Captain Sam of Gisborne CFA says “Never leave a burn-off unattended and check the weather forecast. You should never burn-off in hot, dry, or windy conditions. People need to do the right thing by checking conditions and registering their burn-offs with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority by calling 1800 668 511”. If a total fire ban is put in place, no burning off in the open air will be permitted.

If you see smoke and are concerned, please call the Bush-fire Information Line on 1800 240 667. If you can see flames and wish to report a fire, please call 000 immediately.


Ensure your property is fire ready

Gisborne CFA is encouraging all residents to clean up and prepare their properties for fire season. With the dire season projected to be longer than before, it’s vital that this short window of opportunity is taken advantage of.

To assist property owners to do this, during the month of October burning off restrictions under Macedon Ranges Council’s Local Law will be lifted for those residents living on land less than 4,000 square metres (one acre).

Council’s Director Assets and Operations, Dale Thornton said that it’s important that everyone starts to prepare early as authorities are predicting a prolonged and dry fire season.

“You can significantly help to reduce the risk of fire to our community by cleaning up around your property and removing fine fuels such as long grass, weeds, twigs and leaves,” he said.

Residents must ensure that when burning off they do not create a nuisance for their neighbours and should continue to monitor any burn-off for at least seven days to ensure it is fully extinguished. Large loads of green waste (excluding noxious weeds) can also be taken and tipped for free at Council’s transfer stations.

“We are planning to initially focus on areas in the north and east of the shire that are known to dry out the quickest and we will monitor regrowth carefully over the fire season,” Mr Thornton said.

Council’s Fire Management Officer will also begin inspecting private properties for fire risk in mid-October, which is earlier than usual, and Fire Prevention Notices will be issued to those properties that pose a serious fire risk to their neighbourhood.

Burning off once the fire season is declared is not permitted without a permit.

12006284_10153750619455362_4618146421094122486_nGisborne CFA also ask that when clearing, you consider ifd we will be able to come onto your property safely. Fire trucks are BIG – will we be able to come onto your property and turn around to leave again? Do you have overhanging trees over the drive that could present a hazard to us when considering if we can come onto your property?

For more information can help you, with resources available through the CFA to advise you.

When you change your clock, change the battery in your smoke alarm

Gisborne CFA has attended many house fires over the years that it has been around, and one of the most reassuring things that we experience is going into a building with the smoke alarms making a racket, and all the people usually in the house on the grass outside, waiting for us. One of the most frightening things that we face is knowing that there is a person inside who has become incapacitated as they didn’t know there was a fire and smoke in the house.

A smoke detector will tell you that something is wrong before it gets to the point that you are trapped and unable to call for help. It will help us to help you by making sure that we are called as early as possible, and will reassure you that help can be on the way as soon as you need us.

A flat battery in your smoke detector can bring all that good work undone.

Only working smoke alarms save lives. While you are asleep you are unlikely to smell smoke.  A working smoke alarm is vital to making sure you will wake up in the event of a fire.

How to keep your smoke alarm in working order:

  • Use long-lasting 9V alkaline batteries in your smoke alarm – by doing this you ensure year-round protection
  • Use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to dust around the smoke alarm
  • Install photo-electric smoke alarms
  • Test smoke alarms once a month. The alarm should produce a loud “beep beep beep beep” sound whenyou press the test button using a broom handle
  • Replace all smoke alarms (both battery powered and 240v hard-wired) after ten years (the year of manufacture is displayed on the alarm)
  • Purchase smoke alarms that meet Australian Standards. Look for the AS3786 marking

Waiting until the smoke alarm beeps before you change the battery is too late – this indicates that the battery is already flat, and your family is not protected. Change your smoke alarm battery every year. firefighter_smoke_alarm_180x192

Do your kids know what to do when the smoke alarm goes off?

Simple actions like getting down low and crawling under smoke save lives, and every family should have a home fire escape plan that identifies all possible escape routes.

Smoke alarms for the hearing impaired

Special smoke alarms are available for the hearing impaired. These should feature a flashing strobe light and a vibrating pad that can be placed under the pillow to activate when the alarm sounds.

Hearing impaired smoke alarms can link with standard smoke alarms to alert all household members, regardless of hearing levels. When one alarm senses smoke, all will activate.

Other models are portable units that can be taken from one residence to another.

Smoke Alarm subsidy for deaf people

Profoundly deaf people can apply for a smoke alarm subsidy to help cover the costs of visual and vibrating smoke alarms.

for further details contact the Victorian Deaf Society.

Red Balloon Day

Rob Mitchell MP recently visited the crew at Gisborne CFA to present a brand new Australian National Flag, as well as deliver some ‘Thank you Fireys’ balloons to promote National Red Balloon Day.

National Red Balloon Day is February 28. It is a day when the entire community joins together to honour and thank firefighters across the country.

To show your appreciation, simply tie a red balloon to your letterbox, fence, business window or a ribbon from your car on this day.

You can help raise all-important funds for our fireys by purchasing official merchandise on the National Red Balloon Day website at

All funds raised will go straight back to our local fire services.11002489_10153169489000362_3416244178017263977_n10985243_10153169488840362_7269330718907670750_n

Bushfire Preparation Meeting – 8/1/14

Come along to your local Fire Ready meeting at Gisborne CFA to find out the must-have information for this fire season.

Every season is different so even if you’ve attended a meeting before, it’s important to attend this one. We live in an area with a high fire risk, and preparation is the key to survival.
frv-meetingSpeak to CFA about:

  • How and where bush, grass or scrub fires are likely to start and spread around your area
  • The most essential decisions you and your family need to make
  • How to stay informed should a fire start and threaten
  • Tips and updates to help you start or review your fire plan

This One-hour Fire Ready meeting is a good opportunity to share views and experiences on managing bushfire risk, and make contacts or pool resources.

– See more at: