The warm weather is approaching, meaning the community will soon begin hearing reminders to prepare their properties for the possibility of bushfire.
But what do you do if you are elderly, or have a disability, or cannot afford to undertake some of these important fire protection measures?
Former CFA volunteer Nathan Rogers realised there was a gap in the services available to such people and established the Bushfire Foundation, a registered charity that helps people prepare their homes for the bushfire season.
Mr Rogers said the idea was sparked during his 18-year stint as a volunteer firefighter, which included battling the 2009 Black Saturday blaze that burned into Bendigo.
“I was thinking, ‘Why has it had such an impact in an urban area?’” Mr Rogers said.
He said he realised that there were probably people who did not have the financial or physical means to carry out activities that would minimise the risk of fire claiming their homes.
Bushfire Foundation volunteers help residents with such tasks as clearing roof gutters, removing rubbish and debris from around the property, and other preparation activities.
They can also check sprinkler and pump systems.
While it has not come to it yet, the Bushfire Foundation is prepared to help people in the aftermath of fire with such activities as light demolition work and cleaning.
Mr Rogers said he was also driven by a desire to help people, having gained a lot of enjoyment from doing charity work while firefighting.
“It’s an organisation that serves the community well, and we’re here to serve the community the very best we can,” one of the charity’s directors, Les Jones, added.
The charitable organisation was established in 2015 but became most active over the past year, and now has about 15 volunteers.
It relies on donations and grants, and is now in the process of raising funds to buy a compact tractor unit.
To contact the Bushfire Foundation, call 0424 970 190 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four actions to take before the bushfire season
1. Grass: Mr Rogers recommends mowing grass regularly; every couple of weeks or as needed.
2. Gutters: Clean roof gutters of leaves and plant debris, and ensure downpipes are not blocked.
3. Trees: Ensure there are no branches overhanging your home or other buildings, such as sheds.
4. Rubbish: Remove any other rubbish that might be piled up around the house.