Mitcham Hills residents say they are more likely to flee a bushfire than defend homes


Mitcham Hills residents say they are more likely to flee a bushfire than defend homes

07 September 2012

published by www.heraldsun.com.au


AustraliaMITCHAM Hills residents are far more likely to flee a bushfire than stay and defend their homes, a community survey shows.

About 100 Blackwood and Belair residents took part in the Blackwood/Belair District Community Association’s recent annual survey.

It found only 22.5 per cent of residents would stay and defend their homes in a big fire, compared with 66.2 per cent who planned to go and 11.3 per cent were unsure or did not respond.

In the 2010-11 survey, 46.5 per cent planned to stay and defend, 45.1 per cent planned to leave early and 8.4 per cent were unsure or did not respond.

Community association president Karen Hockley said it was obvious residents’ attitudes to bushfires had changed.

“People are thinking about the risks more now,” Ms Hockley said.

“The advice has definitely changed and our residents have changed their plans as well.”

Belair resident Linda A’Bear, who has lived in the Mitcham Hills for nine years, said the catastrophic Victorian bushfires of 2009 had gradually changed people’s perceptions.

“Fire safety has been high on my list since then,” Mrs A’Bear, 59, said.

“If a big fire went through the Hills we wouldn’t stand much of a chance because the land around us has so much fuel with woody weeds, pine trees and green shrubs.

“We will leave early … it’s much safer.”

Sturt CFS group officer Dale Thompson said, regardless of what they decided to do, Hills residents needed to have a plan.

“People need to plan … it’s the most important thing to do in the leadup to summer,” Mr Thompson said.

“They need to determine whether they’re going to stay or go.

“If they are going to stay they need to prepare themselves and think long and hard about it … if they don’t feel up to it, go.”
 


 

 

 

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