Stay safe this summer
Published on 09 November 2023
The Bureau of Meteorology has formally declared an El Niño event for parts of Australia.
El Niño events increase the risk of extreme temperature shifts, which means there is an increased chance of a hot and dry summer. These conditions increase the risk of bushfires and can also lead to heatwaves, power outages, storms and thunderstorm asthma.
Chair of the Maroondah Liveability, Safety and Amenity Committee, Councillor Rob Steane OAM, encouraged the community to prepare.
“It is important that everyone in our community is prepared so they know what to do if a bushfire, heatwave, storm or power outage should occur.
“Council’s website has a range of information and resources to help community members plan and prepare for emergencies and severe weather events. I encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with this important safety information and check in with your neighbours about their plans,” Cr Steane said.
“You can also use the Vic Emergency website or download the app on your phone to stay up to date with fire warnings, information on planned burns and other incidents.”
Bushfires and grassfires
All property owners are encouraged to ensure their homes and properties are fire ready in the lead up to the Fire Danger Period, and to regularly maintain their property to ensure fine fuels such as long grass and bark are cleared and other potential fire hazards are removed.
Fire Danger Period
The CFA declares the Fire Danger Period (FDP) by municipality during periods of increased fire risk – usually from December through to April each year, although this can vary.
Keep an eye on the CFA website for updates about the Fire Danger Period and advice on how to prepare for the bushfire season, including how to develop a Bushfire Survival Plan.
Australian Fire Danger Rating System
The Australian Fire Danger Rating System is now in place across Australia.
Fire danger ratings tell you how dangerous a fire could be if one started, rather than the likelihood of a fire starting. The higher the fire danger rating, the more dangerous the conditions are and the greater the impact will be if a fire starts.
There are four levels of fire danger in this system:
- Moderate: Plan and prepare
- High: Prepare to act
- Extreme: Take action now to protect your life and property
- Catastrophic: For your survival, leave bushfire risk areas
Use the VicEmergency website or app to monitor conditions, especially before travelling, or use the CFA website for daily fire danger ratings.
Watch our video about the Fire Danger Period and Fire Danger Ratings.
Total fire ban days
Fires in the open air are legally restricted on CFA-declared total fire ban days, when the fire danger is extreme.
Visit the CFA website to learn more and to find out what you can and cannot do on days of total fire ban.
A heatwave is a period of unusually and uncomfortably hot weather. It can cause heat-related illnesses, such as cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and can worsen the condition of someone who already has a medical issue, such as heart disease or diabetes.
Those most at risk include people over 65 years of age, people with certain medical conditions, people who have a disability, babies and young children, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Find out more about how to cope with extreme heat and heat-related illness.
If you are experiencing a heat-related emergency, call:
- 000 for life-threatening emergencies
- NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24 for 24-hour health advice
Council services and appointments
Once the Chief Health Officer issues a Heat Health Warning, Council's Heatwave Plan will be activated, and some regular services may be reduced or cancelled to protect vulnerable members of the community.
Council will advertise any changes or contact those who are impacted by these reductions or cancellations. You can also call us on 1300 88 22 33 if you are unsure about your service being available.
Power outages or blackouts can happen during times of extreme weather. If your power goes out, contact your electricity distributor and use the AusNet Services Outage Tracker to stay up to date.
Visit the Energy Victoria website for more information on how to cope during a power outage.
Power outages and food safety
If your power goes out, follow the 2-hour/4-hour rule to ensure food safety.
Storms and floods
Maroondah is a storm-prone area and experiences severe storm events year round. These events often lead to property damage, flooding and injury, so it’s important to plan for extreme weather events and be prepared.
The State Emergency Service (SES) has developed local flood guides to explain local flood risks. Check the SES flood guide for Maroondah City Council.
Thunderstorm asthma can be triggered by high amounts of grass pollen in the air and a certain type of thunderstorm.
Thunderstorm asthma can cause sudden, serious and even life-threatening symptoms and can affect anyone if there is a severe thunderstorm warning - not just people with a history of asthma or hay fever.
You can use the Vic Emergency website or app to monitor the daily risk forecast during grass pollen season.
How to protect yourself and others from thunderstorm asthma.
How to stay informed