WEPG is working with Yarra Rages Council and other bodies on a number of initiatives. These include the following:
Anyone driving through Warburton listening to ABC Melbourne (774) would immediately realise that our main emergency radio broadcaster is not able to adequately reach many listeners in the Warburton Valley. During the 2009 bushfire emergency a “FM repeater station” was temporarily relocated from Perth to Mt Victoria and was able to provide excellent ABC Melbourne radio coverage to the surrounding area. We are currently looking at having a similar but permanent solution in place.
Similarly mobile telephone reception in the Warburton area can be either patchy or non-existent, particularly to the east of Warburton. Working through Yarra Ranges Council and with Federal MP, Tony Smith and the various telecommunication companies and authorities, we are aiming to have better mobile coverage.
Raising Public Awareness
WEPG has facilitated a number of public information sessions since its formation in 2011 and supported other events organised by the CFA and Yarra Ranges Council. These public forums have been important to increase public awareness of key emergency planning issues, and the events have been well reported in the local media. We have also supported the Yarra Ranges Council’s “Wake Up Warby” initiative and use our Facebook presence to highlight areas of interest and concern.
Specifically in 2015, after consulting with the local CFA brigade, WEPG is advocating for a Fire Danger Rating Sign displayed in a prominent position in town for maximum affect.
Places of Last Resort
While the “Leave and Live” strategy is advocated, there could be times when residents and visitors are unable to leave in time before a major fire event. Currently there is a small community fire refuge in East Warburton at Millwarra Primary School, and a Neighbourhood Safer Place at the Millgrove Recreation Ground. A new Community Fire Refuge is also planned as part of the new CFA Fire Station in Millgrove. Currently WEPG is working with Yarra Ranges Council and CFA to identify a suitable Neighbourhood Safer Place in Warburton that conforms to the very necessary guidelines. Residents and visitors also need to have a back up plan if they are unable to leave early and are unable to get to a Neighbourhood Safer Place or Refuge. Please check out the CFA website for further information http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/back-up-plans/.