How long is it since you checked that your smoke detectors are functioning properly?

If you don’t have smoke detectors or if your detectors are old (that is, more than 10 years old), get some new ones installed. Either buy and install battery operated detectors yourself following the manufacturer’s instructions, or if you prefer to have your detectors hard wired, get them installed by a qualified electrician.

Similarly, if your detectors are in good condition but it’s been a while since you replaced the batteries, including in hard wired smoke alarms, do it now. Try to replace them at least every six months; use the start and end of daylight saving as your reminder.


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Bush and grassfires can pose a major risk to life and property. The City of Ballarat is committed to the prevention and management of bushfires. To achieve this aim, Council develops and implements strategies to alleviate the impact of bushfires on the community, including fire prevention, as well as preparing and managing fire events when they occur.

Fire Action Week

About Council’s fire planning 

The Country Fire Authority (CFA) Act  1958 requires Council to develop and maintain a Municipal Fire Management Plan, which focuses on the fire risks to the municipality and is a sub plan of the Municipal Emergency Management Plan. See Councils Role and Council Plans

The plan includes a fire management planning framework for the municipality. It is coupled with a firm commitment to a co-operative approach, including information sharing across all agencies and communities.

The Plan also implements many of the recommendations of the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission, such as the identification and designation of Neighbourhood Safer Places (Places of Last Resort) and dissemination of Township Protection Plans 

Neighbourhood Safer Places (Places of Last Resort)

Neighbourhood Safer Places ‑ Places of Last Resort are identified buildings or spaces within the community thatmayafford some protection from radiant heat, which is the biggest killer during a bushfire.They are a place of last resort and should be used if your Bushfire Survival Plan fails and you have nowhere else to go.

They are not designed for all day relocation. There will be few comforts and services available and they will offer only limited protection from smoke and embers.

The following Neighbourhood Safer Places ‑ Places of Last Resort locations within the City of Ballarat have been identified and assessed by the CFA and comply with CFA guidelines:

  • Ballarat CBD– on Sturt Street, between Dawson and Lydiard Streets.
  • Buninyong CBD– In the area bounded by Learmonth (Midland Highway) and Inglis Streets, and Forest and Warrenheip Streets.
  • Invermay– Invermay Recreation Reserve, Muscatel Rd.
  • Mount Clear– Midvale Shopping Centre (rear car park), Corner of Geelong and Whitehorse Roads.
  • Canadian– Parkland on Provincial Way, between Broderick and Ryder Courts.

To find out more, visit the CFA’s website and conduct a Search under ‘Neighbourhood Safer Places’. 

Community Information Guides

The CFA has identified certain Ballarat suburbs and townships within the municipality as areas of high bushfire risk. Some of these townships straddle the municipal boundaries between the City of Ballarat and neighbouring local governments.

Community Information Guides have been developed for all of these locations. They are:

These guides provide township-specific information to enable residents, visitors and emergency services to make a quick, informed and planned response to a fire, and have been distributed to all residents and businesses within these high fire risk areas. They contain a map with specific information including the locations of roads, police, fire stations and schools.


HOME FIRE SAFETY - Your guide to reducing fire hazards at homeTop of document.

If you think a house fire won’t happen to you, consider this – so did the residents in the 50* or so households in Ballarat whose homes are damaged by fire each year. House fires typically arise from a variety of causes. Sadly though, almost all of them have one thing in common – they are entirely preventable. This flyer has been developed to help you identify and manage fire risks in your home. It also tells you how to develop a fire escape plan for your household. Some of the more common causes of house fires, and what can be done about them, are listed on this page. As you read them, think about how you manage fire and flammable materials in your household and how you can do it better. Remember, most house fires are preventable, so take some simple precautions and keep your household safe. * The average number of structural fires in the City of Ballarat each year for the five year period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2012.


Heaters of all types, but particularly those with a naked flame or exposed element, are a common source of house fires. Causes include embers igniting flammable materials that have been stored too close to a heater; chimneys and heater flues catching fire due to a build up of soot and creosote; pieces of wood that haven’t burnt completely being put back into dry wood piles for later use; and a general lack of heater maintenance.

  • Prior to winter, check your wood heater, chimney and flue to ensure they are clear of ash, soot and creosote.
  • When your heater is in use, make sure that any flammable materials such as paper, cardboard or drying clothes, are stored or placed well out of the way.
  • If you have a wood heater and a piece of wood hasn’t burnt through completely, leave it in the heater; don’t place it back into your dry wood pile for later use.
  • If you have an open fire and need to leave the room for an extended period, including when you go to bed, place a fire screen across the fireplace.
  • Ensure that wood and other combustible materials are stored at least one metre away from an open fire.

Candles and oil burners left untended, and matches and/or cigarette lighters, particularly in the hands of children, represent a real fire hazard. So is placing candles and oil burners too close to curtains or on a combustible surface, or in a spot where they are easily knocked over.

  • Always keep candles, oil burners, matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  • Keep burning candles and oil burners well away from combustible materials and high traffic areas, and don’t place them on combustible surfaces. Better still, don’t use them at all.

Cooking can be a high-risk activity, whether it’s hot oil left untended on a stove top, or fat left to build up in a griller or barbecue tray, both are common causes of house fires.

  • Never leave hot oil untended on the stove. If you need to leave the kitchen or give your attention elsewhere, even briefly, TURN OFF the stove completely until you return.
  • Clean out griller and barbecue trays after every use. Not only will you reduce the fire risk, but you will also reduce the likelihood of unwanted pests, such as cockroaches, invading your kitchen or barbecue area.
  • Ensure that combustible items such as tea towels, paper towels and curtains are well away from cooking appliances, including toasters.

Electric blankets wear over time and can become a fire hazard, particularly if elements become buckled or bent, or if heavy items are placed on top of them.

  • Never go to sleep with your electric blanket on; turn it off when you get into bed.
  • Resist putting things on a bed if it is fitted with an electric blanket. Babies, pets and school bags may not be heavy in themselves, but they have the effect of concentrating the heat in a small area of the blanket; over time, this can create a fire risk, particularly if the blanket is left on.
  • If you take off electric blankets over summer, store them rolled up rather than folded so that the element is less likely to buckle. Follow the manufacturer’s storage instructions.
  • Replace your electric blanket every few years. Run your hand over the blanket and if the element is bent or it feels hotter in some places than others, replace it. Make sure you dispose of the old one appropriately.

Clothes dryers can overheat and catch fire if the lint filter becomes blocked. The risk is even greater when you consider that clothes dryers are often left operating unattended for long periods of time.

  • Clean out the lint filter each time you use your clothes dryer. It only takes a few seconds and once you’ve done it a few times, it will become second nature.
  • Don’t open the dryer before the “cool down” cycle has ended.

Electricity is an energy source that we often take for granted, but it can also be dangerous if not used correctly. Avoid using double adaptors, especially if you are in the habit of overloading them. Considering using power boards instead. Check them regularly for damage and don’t overload them.

  • When you need electrical work or repairs done, use only qualified electrical tradespeople. Too many house fires are caused by incorrectly wired fixtures and fittings.
  • When not in use, turn off electrical appliances at the power point, even if they have a standby mode. This not only reduces the risk of fire from an electrical fault, but will also save you money on your electricity bills.
  • Replace power cords that are damaged or frayed, or have them repaired by a qualified electrical tradesperson.

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