Before Emergencies


Preparation is your best defence against many types of emergency situations.

Experience shows that those who plan and prepare for emergencies can reduce the impact of the emergency, and can recover quicker afterwards. Taking the time to think about emergencies and making a plan helps you to think clearly, have a greater sense of control, and make better decisions when an emergency occurs.

The Are you prepared for an emergency?(PDF, 7MB) is a great resource prepared for residents to assist understand risks we could face and how to prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Household Readiness

Surviving emergencies is a shared responsibility. Emergency services will do all they can to protect lives and property, but sometimes the emergency is bigger than the resources on hand and we need to be prepared to look after ourselves. We have to share the responsibility for ourselves and our communities.

Planning and and preparing for emergencies, disasters and disruptions that may affect you and your family is of absolute importance. There is wide range of resources are available to assist you with household emergency planning. 

With the possibility of power outages on the increase, be sure to do all your planning as if there will be no power or phone available. A few helpful resources to get you started are:

  • RediPlan(PDF, 2MB)  developed by Red Cross is a very easy-to-follow set of actions to help plan for emergencies.
  • The Fire Ready Kit(PDF, 4MB) is a comprehensive kit which will assist you to understand fire, prepare your property and plan for survival.
  • VicSES has developed a range of resources to help you to plan and prepare for a range of emergencies including flood and storm.
  • Don’t forget to plan for your animals. You can find a lot of information on preparing for your pets on the Agriculture Victoria website. For information about horses and livestock in emergencies, visit the horses and livestock in emergencies on the Agriculture Victoria website.

The Bushfire Resilience Inc series of 5 webinars are great resources to understand and prepare for the possibility of bushfire and cover topics including getting insurance right, how houses are destroyed by bushfire, how to 'harden' your existing home, understanding rebuilding and making better decisions about bushfire risk in our changing climate:

Go to the Bushfire Resilience Resource Hub to find the webinars and other useful information to better prepare for emergencies.  

Community Information Guides

Community Information Guides (CIG) provide fire safety advice and are created when the fire risk to a community is seen as significant. With community consultation, the CFA has developed CIG’s for Tolmie, Sawmill Settlement, Jamieson, Goughs Bay and Kevington. An all hazard Community Safety Plan also exists for Woods Point—these can be obtained from Council or from the CFA website

Drinking water

Bushfires have the potential to cause a number of environmental health concerns beyond the immediate damage caused by the fire.

If you live in a bushfire prone area your private drinking water could be contaminated with debris, ash, dead animals, aerial fire retardants and water-bombing.

If the water tastes, looks or smells unusual, do not drink it or use for food preparation, brushing teeth or give it to pets or livestock.

There are things you can do to protect your private drinking water to ensure it is not affected by a bushfire event.

For more information go to the Victorian Government's Better Health website which has information about Bushfires and your private drinking water supply

Fire prevention and Fire Prevention Notices

Residents who live OUTSIDE of Residential, Business and Industrial Zones are permitted to burn off dry vegetation waste. 

For more information on how to burn off safely, go to the CFA website. If you are situated in Residential, Business and Industrial Zones, you must apply to Council for a permit to burn off. Fires for heating and cooking (campfires, fire pits) may be lit in properly constructed fire pits.

Getting Fire Ready 2022-23(PDF, 518KB)

Council carries out property inspections for fire hazards during the commencement of the fire danger period, usually at the start of November, and issues fire prevention notices for the clearing of non-complying properties.

To satisfy the inspection, you must meet legal obligations:

  • Grass and undergrowth to be kept under 100mm high for at least 25m around assets.
  • Grass/weeds, leaf litter and similar flammable material around buildings must be removed.
  • Trees should not overhang buildings. This preparation gives your assets a chance of survival.
  • For rural and rural residential allotments, a 25m wide mown, slashed or heavily grazed area around houses and sheds, and fuel reduced along boundaries is required (and 25m clearance to neighbour’s assets).
  • Fire hazards will continue to be monitored and appropriate action needs to be undertaken by all property owners to maintain their allotment throughout the declared fire danger period.

Where works are not completed within the time frame nominated on a Fire Direction notice, Council will arrange for the works to be done and invoice the owner. An on-the spot infringement of $1,849 will also be issued.

If you are unable to complete the works yourself, Council has compiled a (PDF, 194KB)list of contractors(PDF, 194KB) that operate in the area that may be able to assist you.

When managing clippings, pruned branches and fine fuels, please note no burning off is allowed in any residential, business or industrial zones without a permit. Permits are not able to be obtained during the fire danger period.

No burnoffs are allowed during a fire danger period without a permit (from Council or CFA).

Remember that being prepared for the fire season requires ongoing works such as managing any re-growth. Your preparation must, however, extend beyond just the fuel load – refer to the CFA website.

Please also consider how you can help others in your community with their preparation.

Contact Council if you believe your neighbour or others have not complied and need a reminder.

For more information about the fire danger period, fire prevention or Fire Prevention Notices, please contact the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer on 03 5775 8555 or refer to the Preparing for the Fire Season Advice flyer above.

There is extensive fire planning and prevention information on the CFA website, including their pamphlet that details requirements for solid BBQs, open fires, camp fires, use of farm machinery, welding and grinding and other activities.  

Business Readiness

Emergency management planning can help you identify risks to your business, critical areas of your business and how to best protect them. Your business could be affected by fire, flood or storm or an extended disruption such as a power outage. It should also cover business continuity and recovery planning to help your business prepare for and survive any emergency situation.

For lots of information on risk identification and managing your business in an emergency visit website. 

Emergency Ready Trivia

Emergency Ready Trivia poses emergency readiness, response and recovery questions across a range of risks including bush and house fire, flood, storm and heatwave and can be adapted for specific demographics, risks and localities.

The project was developed by Mansfield Shire Council (through CFA SFSLI funding) in response to difficulties experienced in attracting people to attend emergency readiness education sessions.

The game was launched in Mansfield on 3 April 2017 with around 40 people from across the Shire taking part in the inaugural game. Feedback from the evening shows the participants learnt a lot about emergency readiness while having great fun.

The greatest benefit of Emergency Ready Mansfield is the participants’ learning from their peers through storytelling and teamwork, with the experts (emergency services and council representatives) enhancing the learnings through sharing their experience and knowledge at the right moments. This is a very effective method of community engagement and education.

The Emergency Ready game package includes:

  • a database of 150+ draft questions relating to overall emergency readiness, bushfire, flood, storm and heatwave so the game can be designed to deliver specific messages
  • a professionally designed trivia game template
  • logos
  • a flyer
  • a user guide
  • a sample game - the game played at the Emergency Ready launch in Mansfield.

Due to the enthusiastic response Emergency Ready Mansfield has received, the project has been extended and the game has been generically packaged for wide distribution. The package elements are available on the links below: