Bushfire Commission recommendations in full

The interim report of the Royal Commission into the Black Saturday bushfires has recommended that in future:

– Bushfire warnings be designed to save lives

– Warnings must use clear language, avoid euphemisms, and contain explicit information

– A new fire severity scale (similar to the cyclone categories 1 to 5) is introduced

– Bushfire warnings in Victoria are confined to two categories or stages:

* Bushfire Information – a message providing information on a bushfire that is going and has the potential to threaten public safety; and:

* Bushfire Warning – a warning about any dangerous or extremely dangerous bushfire that poses a threat to life

– The Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) be used in Victoria

– Commercial operators join the ABC in disseminating bushfire warning messages

– The Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner and the CFA develop guidelines for the use of warning sirens

– The Australian government, COAG and the state examine the second phase of national mobile phone warning system for the 2009-2010 season

– A single, multi-agency website for bushfire information with information on both CFA and DSE websites

– The word relocation is used in preference to the word evacuation (except in cases where evacuation is clearly more appropriate)

– CFA personnel be able to advise residents on the suitability of leaving early

– Incident controllers be able to assess whether relocation should occur and to recommend relocation when warranted

– The CFA revise its communication to the community about preparing for bushfires and what to do in a bushfire to:

* reinforce advice that community members should prepare, and decide, well before a fire occurs, whether to leave early or stay and defend their homes; and:

* clearly convey the following principles:

– the safest option is always to leave early rather than to stay and defend;

– not all homes are defendable;

– the risks of staying to defend include the risk of physical injury and death

– The CFA assist in the defence of designated community fire refuges and neighbourhood safer places

– The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development complete a review of all refuges in all schools in areas at risk of bushfire

– The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development review bushfire fire protection in kindergartens, childcare centres, preschools and early learning centres

– The Country Fire Authority’s chief officer has responsibility to issue warnings and provide information to the community concerning the risk of bushfires

– Review of roadblocks policy

– Better coordination among commonwealth emergency bodies