State government, Pyrenees Shire Council working on new bushfire readiness project

A NEW state government project is aimed at improving the communications breakdowns that often take place in isolated communities during bushfires. 

During last year’s Carngham and Chepstowe fires, some residents said they didn’t receive emergency text message alerts warning them the fire was coming their way.

There were also problems with the CFA website, which crashed when residents were trying to get information.

The state government and Pyrenees Shire Council are working on a new emergency readiness program, to be trialled in Snake Valley.

The project hopes to equip communities to make informed decisions when faced with an emergency.

It will eventually be rolled out to 10 towns in the region: Raglan, Waubra, Evansford, Lexton, Amphitheatre, Crowlands, Natte Yallock, Landsborough,  Redbank and Moonambel.

Pyrenees Shire Council municipal recovery manager Sue O’Brien said the project was something positive to come from last year’s bushfire destruction.

“We can learn a lot from what happened at Carngham and use that to assist others,” she said.

Member for Western Victoria David O’Brien said the state government would provide the program with $99,000 as part of the Regional Growth Fund.

“The program is enabling communities to take an active role in emergency management through local projects, delivering flexible and networked responses across all hazards and all agencies,” he said.

Other outcomes from the project include ensuring more community members have personal bushfire survival plans and a documented Small Towns Communications Training Package.