FREE at-home advice on bushfire safety is available from the Country Fire Authority.
Fire safety officer Rachel Allen travels Gippsland providing home owners with individual advice on how to best prepare their homes to be bushfire ready.
Ms Allen said the program was formalised three years ago in response to the 2009 Victoria Bushfire Royal Commission’s recommendation to provide individual site-specific advice to people.
Ms Allen said while the free home bushfire advice service was targeted at people who live near vegetation such as bushland, paddocks and long grass, anyone could use the service.
She described a typical visit as taking one to one-and-half hours, including a walk around the property identifying possible improvements and ways vegetation could be maintained.
She said this one-on-one service gave people the opportunity to ask questions, which they may not have had a chance to ask at bigger community meetings, and to give more comprehensive understanding.
“At the end of the visit I give them the notes I’ve taken down throughout and then write a report to send to them in the next week or so,” Ms Allen said.
“I also want to stress that I only give them advice. Some people are afraid that it might affect their insurance, but it’s not compulsory to take on board the advice and we don’t give out any of your details to third parties.”
She said of the more than 400 households who have used the service, many have made an appointment “to check that they are on the right track” and the visit could give them peace of mind or point out anything they might have missed.
“The people are appreciative of the one-on-one advice and those who are prepared really like the feedback,” Ms Allen said.
She said in the lead up to summer her schedule has gotten busier, but residents were encouraged to call and a time could normally be arranged within a week.
To book a home bushfire advice appointment, phone the Victorian Bushfire information line on
1800 240 667.