Preparing for an emergency


Before you are faced with an emergency, there are many considerations you need to make.

What do you take with you? Do you have a plan for your animals? Where is your medication?

Consider the important decisions and write a plan before you are faced with an emergency.

After you have created your plan, make sure your family and household understand the plan and know their role in an emergency. This might even include people outside of your household such as your neighbours and local community group.

Create a Plan - For Business

If you are a business owner you may have staff or customers to consider when a bushfire, flood or storm hits.

View the information below to get started thinking about protecting your business.

Emergency management for businesses


Check your Insurance

People who don’t have insurance or who are underinsured find it very difficult to rebuild their lives without it. Make sure to check your policy every year to ensure that your policy provides you with enough cover to rebuild to a standard that you are comfortable with.

Underinsuring is a common problem. It might mean home owners need to borrow extra money to rebuild, or compromise on the type of home they want such as size or features.

A bushfire, flood or other emergency could destroy driveways, retaining walls, gardens, sheds, fencing, swimming pools and more. Call your insurance broker or insurance company to discuss your policy limits and coverage.

Know what your policy covers

Will your policy cover accommodation, removal of debris or demolition costs? These details matter. Understand if you have a replacement cost policy that pays to replace all your items at current market price or an actual cash value policy that takes depreciation into account and pays less for aged items.

Make a home inventory

Rebuilding a replacing lost items is easier if you have an accurate home inventory. Here are some methods you could use to document the contents of your home before an emergency occurs:

• Use your smartphone to video/photograph your belongings
• Take a walk and video the outside of your property as well, fences, retaining walls, shed, garages and their contents
• Keep your inventory & photos at another location to your home or store this information online

Preparing for Bushfire

The CFA has a number of fire safety resources to help you and the community prepare for fire.

• Understand how the Fire Danger Rating Scale can alert you to fire danger.
• Learn more about rules for Total Fire Ban days with Can I Can't I
• Keep your family safe from indoor fires and check out Home Fire Safety advice.
• Information to help you know how to protect yourself and your property from Grassfires in Urban Areas.
• Your Guide to Survival provides you with information on how to stay informed on fire risk days, why you should leave early, what information to gather ahead of fire season for you and your family, understand what to expect during a bushfire and guidance on how to stay informed of fires across your area.
• Learn more about your local Places of Last Resort.



Preparing for Flood

SES has a range of information about Southern Grampians Shire including a local flood guide for Hamilton.

They also have a FloodSafe guide to plan and prepare for floods that covers; types of flooding including riverine and flash flooding, weather warnings, preparing an emergency plan, what you can do to stay safe, evacuation and a flood checklist.



Fire Prevention

Preparing your property for summer is vital for the survival of life and property during wildfire.

Council advises all landholders that they share responsibility for fire prevention and Southern Grampians Shire have a number of programs to ensure that the area is free of fire hazards.

Council undertake a structured annual inspection program to identify properties that may have vegetation that does or may pose a hazard in the event of a fire occurring.

Many residents are unsure what they should do to properly prepare their property but it is not difficult and there is a range of information available on what to do.

Information about preparing for fires is available from 

Some residents do not have the ability to clear blocks, therefore Council provides a list of Contractors who have registered their names as being available to provide this service are listed below for your reference, please read the disclaimer on the list carefully.

For further advice contact Council on (03) 5573 0444



Question  Answer  
When is the Fire Danger Period?


 The Country Fire Authority (CFA) introduces Fire Restrictions (Fire Danger Period) for all private land in Victoria over the summer period each year. The Fire Danger Period start and end dates change yearly, however normally operate from approximately November to April. Declaration dates can be found on the CFA website:


Why does Council issue Fire Prevention Notices?


Under the Country Fire Authority Act 1958, Council has a legal obligation to reduce the risk of fire for the community. MFPO’s have the power to inspect and to issue Fire Prevention Notices within the municipality. However, there are no guarantees of personal or property safety when it comes to bushfire. The works detailed on the Fire Prevention Notice are designed to reduce radiant heat, fire intensity and ember attack and minimise direct flame impact on you or your neighbour’s assets. They are consistent with CFA guidelines for protecting your home.


Why did I receive a Fire Prevention Notice?


Council’s Municipal Fire Prevention Officers (MFPO”s) have recently assessed your property for fire hazards and determined that you need to reduce fuel loads on your property to reduce the potential fire risk.



What do I have to do?


You are required to clean up and reduce fine fuels such as bark, leaves, twigs and long grass either as a fire break or the entire property as directed by an MFPO on the Notice. Reducing the fine fuels assists to reduce the intensity of a fire if it occurred, as fine fuels are responsible for the major increase in fire intensity and spread. The required works must be carried out by the completion date and you must then maintain your property in this state for the duration of the Fire Danger Period.


Can I remove trees and shrubs?


The Notice does not authorise you to remove shrubs and trees. If you wish to remove trees and shrubs, contact Council’s Planning Department for advice.


What does it mean by reduce fine fuel?


 All plants provide fuel for a bushfire. However, it is the fine fuels (those less than a finger's width, approximately 6mm and less) that contribute most to the heat and speed of a fire. Fine fuel includes dry grass, leaves, twigs and loose bark but does not include larger logs or branches. Minimising fine fuels reduces the heat of a fire and its ability to spread across the ground and up into the tree-tops.


What if I am unable to complete the works myself?


 You may appoint a contractor of your choice to complete the specified work at your cost council is not responsible for works on private property.


I am having difficulty getting the work completed by the deadline, can I have an extension?


 Give the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer a call to discuss your particular situation. In most cases an additional week may be considered but we must hear from you before the completion date on your notice.


I am concerned about my neighbour’s fire hazard


 Please contact Council if there is a property of concern to you. MFPO’s may inspect the property and provide the owner with a Fire Prevention Notice if required. Council’s fire hazard inspection program is focused on reducing fuel loads immediately around assets such as houses and outbuildings. If the fire hazard you are concerned about on a neighbouring property falls outside this area, it is unlikely a Fire Prevention Notice will be issued.


What do I do if I object to my notice?


 Contact the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer in writing within seven days of the service of the notice stating the grounds of objection as per the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 Part 3 Section 41B (1).


What will happen if I don’t comply with the Notice?


MFPO’s conduct follow up inspections on properties that have received a Fire Prevention Notice to ensure the works have been completed and maintained throughout the fire danger period. If the works required have not been carried out to the satisfaction of the MFPO by the due date, you may receive an on the spot infringement notice of 10 penalty units. The maximum penalty for failing to comply with the notice is 120 penalty units or imprisonment for 12 months or both. A contractor may then be engaged to carry out the required works and the costs will be passed on to you with additional administration fees. Council may not contact you prior to undertaking works once the Fire Prevention Notice has been issued.
Burn Off Permits


 During the Fire Danger Period, residents are required to obtain a permit to burn in the open air. Burn Off permit conditions are set by the CFA. For more information please contact either the CFA or Council.


What about the Crown Land/Parks land behind my property?


Council is not empowered to issue Fire Prevention Notices to statutory bodies such as State Government agencies. It is suggested you contact the agency that manages the land and inform them of your concerns.