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CFA Neighbourhood Safer Places

In late 2009, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) Act was amended to make provision for Neighbourhood Safer Places (NSPs), in places designated as CFA areas by that Act. This change arose out of a Royal Commission interim report into the Black Saturday Bushfires of February 2009. The City of Greater Dandenong is within the CFA area of Victoria.

The purpose of NSPs is to provide some protection from the effects of radiant heat during a bushfire. NSPs are only intended for use when all other plans have failed. They are not intended as a place to relocate to when leaving early (i.e. they are not meant to be used as relief/recovery centres). NSPs are also not meant to replace personal bushfire survival plans such as leaving early.

Although the City of Greater Dandenong falls within a CFA area, the risk of bushfire for this municipality is considered to be quite low. An assessment was undertaken to assess Greater Dandenong’s fire risk rating, in accordance with the Integrated Fire Management Planning provisions. It shows that structure (building) fires represent the greatest risk in this municipality, whilst bushfire risk is quite low.

With this information in hand, officers have reviewed the NSP requirements and determined that such facilities do not need to be designated within Greater Dandenong.

The principle reasons for this are:

  • In the main, Greater Dandenong is an urban municipality, with relatively low risk of bushfire threat. Integrated Fire Management Planning data for Greater Dandenong shows that structure fire represents the greatest risk in this municipality, with the causes of such fires generally being found within the structure.

  • Those areas of Greater Dandenong that may be at risk of bushfire are serviced by significant major road networks which have the capacity to enable rapid evacuation. Evacuation to nearby urban areas is therefore seen as the safest and most practical option for residents in these areas.

  • All areas of Greater Dandenong are serviced by high-quality roads providing excellent exacuation routes, with most areas having more than one road option via a combination of major and minor roads.

  • The CFA who are currently responsible for identifying, assessing and certifying NSP's against their Fire Rating Criteria have not identified any NSPs within Greater Dandenong.