SOME proactive Emu Creek residents know how effective a team effort can be in preparing for bushfires. About 30 residents have worked together during the past few years to get their houses bushfire ready as part of the CFA Community Fireguard group. The group – also known as Emu Creek Fireguard Group – covers about 15 properties over two roads in an area spanning 4 to 5km. It is one of 22 existing groups in the City of Greater Bendigo area. As part of the program the group received free information and training about bushfire survival strategies and now recognise risks and understand actions they can take for bushfire safety. Emu Creek Fireguard Group co-ordinator John Wells said the group met every year to map out an overview about what each member had done to prepare for bushfires and what could be improved. “We always keep in touch and share fire safety information,” he said. “It’s a great system whereby we can connect with people and know what’s going on. “Occasionally we’ll inspect each other’s property to see what they’ve done and what they could do and it’s also a good way of getting ideas for your own property.”Removing dry dead matter found in vegetation in and around their properties are among the steps the group has carried out. “We also look at the actual protection of the building itself in terms of keeping flammable materials away from the house,” Mr Wells said, adding the network of members provided priceless support for bushfire preparation.“Our members are much more aware in terms of bushfire safety. We also have each other’s contact details and know whether each member is going to stay or go in an event of a fire. Our houses are much better prepared too and more likely to survive a fire. “The other thing is we provide mutual support for one another, it’s a much easier thing to do if your neighbours are also doing it and are there to help out and provide support if you need it.” If you would like to start a group in your neighbourhood, contact community education co-ordinator Allison Henneken on 5420 9286.