During late 2019 and early 2020, Victorians experienced catastrophic bushfires. Older people, especially those who are frail, live alone or are socially isolated, together with those with a disability, are at greater risk during bushfires.
Men 65 years and over are more inclined to want to stay on their property or in their home, even when bushfire threatens. They are also more likely to believe it is doubtful a fire will threaten their home.
Combined with some of the effects of ageing such as reduced mobility, the decision to stay and defend can be very dangerous. The Country Fire Authority is working closely with COTA Victoria and other organisations to improve how bushfire preparedness plans and emergency plans are developed and actioned for people at greatest risk in emergencies.
Developing a bushfire preparedness or emergency plan is challenging at the best of times, but for people with additional support needs related to age, health and mobility, the challenges and barriers can be even greater.
The Preparing Vulnerable People project is supported by a Reference Group with industry representatives from both the aged care and disability sectors, including COTA Victoria.
CFA has also developed a new bushfire planning template, including a large font version for ease of reading that is more aligned to people with extra support needs. You can request a CFA representative to visit your property to provide free advice on bushfire survival by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.