HEYWOOD Incident Control Centre was a hive of activity last Friday as emergency services responded to a mock fire.
More than 80 people were involved in the mock incident which included four different scenarios.
Barwon South West region fire safety officer Philip O’Keefe said the centre went into full swing in preparation for the upcoming fire season.
“We’re running as we would run if there was an incident,” he said.
“We’ve got notional road blocks.
“There’s officers talking back to the centre from the fire ground. And we’re providing information to the public.”
Mr O’Keefe said staff were working in the mapping section anticipating which way the mock fires would run.
“There is an input team located at the scene to feed the scenario back to us.
“It’s a pretend fire scene. Like a real fire scene, anything can happen.”
Mr O’Keefe said personnel from CFA, DEPI, SES, Victoria Police and Ambulance Victoria were involved.
He said the mock incident was the start of preparations for the fire season and given the devastating fires that have hit New South Wales it was time for people in south-west Victoria to be prepared.
“It’s been a wet winter here so fuel loads are a lot higher,” he said.
“There is the potential for running grass fires.
“If people haven’t started preparing around their homes now is an ideal opportunity.
“If people plan to stay and defend they have a better opportunity if their house is prepared.
“Now is the ideal time to sit down and write a survival plan, even if it’s just a page of dot points.”
Meanwhile firefighters from across the state are being deployed to New South Wales to provide relief to fire agency colleagues.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Bushfire Response Kim Wells said more than 120 Victorians would be assisting in various functions including providing assistance at Rural Fire Service headquarters, impact assessment, strike teams and incident management teams.
Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said staff and volunteers from CFA, MFB, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, and Parks Victoria are part of this Victorian response.