Premier Ted Baillieu and Deputy Premier and Minister for Bushfire Response Peter Ryan warned that all Victorians should start preparing now to minimise risk during the upcoming fire season.
Mr Baillieu and Mr Ryan were speaking at the State Control Centre with the state's emergency services chiefs at the start of Fire Action Week, imploring Victorians to do the most to minimise their risk and maximise their survival this fire season.
"On a Code Red day, leaving early is the safest option," Mr Baillieu said.
"Your fire safety is your responsibility – the only person who can guarantee your safety is you.
"Ask yourself seriously – are you ready to act if there was a fire today?
"There are tools and information available to help you and your family stay safe, but it's up to you to use them."
Mr Baillieu said this year's focus was for all Victorians to prepare themselves and their families in the event of a bushfire.
"People who live in a high-risk area will need comprehensive advice for their plan and should call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667 to request a Bushfire Survival Plan contained in the Fire Ready Kit," Mr Baillieu said.
"But all Victorians should know, now is the time to gather all the advice you need to develop your fire plan, practise it and be ready before the start of the fire season."
Fire Action Week includes the release of tools for personal fire planning, including a FireReady smartphone application, a Facebook page and the online version of My Plan, hosted on the Country Fire Association (CFA) website.
"I urge all Victorians to make planning and preparation the number one safety priority. If you live in a bushfire-prone area on the city fringe or in regional Victoria, then having a plan to follow is essential," Mr Baillieu said.
"The My Plan tools and Traveller's Checklist are new social media resources to organise personal and family fire plans. They can be completed at your own pace and updated with current warnings in your local area.
"Discussing and writing down your fire plan is the most effective way to ensure your safety. Talking to family and neighbours, regularly revising your plan to take into account any changes to your circumstances and having a backup plan will ensure you are ready to act whatever the conditions," Mr Baillieu said.
Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government was delivering on its commitment to improving bushfire safety across the state and had recently completed eight regional training exercises across Victoria.
"The integrated training program addressed one of the main recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission to enhance co-ordination of emergency services management," Mr Ryan said.
"The eight exercises, called Project Belenus, were part of a new government-funded three-year training program designed to improve capacity and capability in our fire services."
Mr Ryan said Victoria was one of the most fire-prone areas in the world and the regional exercises addressed this through co-ordinated work with agencies, government departments, the community and emergency broadcasters, through an emergency management scenario.
"Each region will undergo a locally-based fire scenario that takes communities, government departments and the fire services through the emergency management arrangements in place leading up to and during a large-scale fire," Mr Ryan said.
The first regional exercise was conducted in the Gippsland region on Sunday. Other exercises are being conducted in the Loddon Mallee, Hume, Grampians and the Eastern, Western, Southern and North West metropolitan regions as part of pre-season preparation.
"The Victorian Coalition Government is investing more than $900 million to implement all of the Royal Commission's recommendations to make Victorian communities safer and to make Victoria the leading emergency services management state," Mr Ryan said.
Fire Action Week runs from 13 to 20 November and concludes with CFA Sunday when more than 400 brigades across the state will open their doors to the community.
"CFA Sunday is a great opportunity to get to know the men and women at your local brigade and ask questions about bushfire preparation, planning and volunteering," Mr Ryan said.
For more information: www.cfa.vic.gov.au