Responsible Department - Community Safety
Municipal Neighbourhood Safer Places Plan (235kb)
In its Interim Report, the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission recommended that Neighbourhood Safer Places (‘NSP’), be identified and established to provide persons in bushfire affected areas with a place of last resort during a bushfire.
In response to this recommendation, the Victorian Government introduced the Emergency Services Legislation Amendment Act 2009 (Vic) (‘ESLA Act’) which amends the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 (Vic) (‘CFA Act’) and the Emergency Management Act 1986 (Vic) (‘EM Act’). The effect of these amendments were to require the Country Fire Authority (‘CFA’) to certify NSPs against the CFA’s Fire Rating
Criteria, and Victorian Councils to identify, designate, establish and maintain suitable places as NSPs in their municipal districts.
In October 2015, Emergency Management Victoria, under the direction of the Commissioner Emergency Management developed the Neighbourhood Safer Places – Bushfire Place of Last Resort Signage Manual. In this manual, the term ‘Neighbourhood Safer Place – Place of Last Resort’ has been changed and is now referred to as a ‘Bushfire Place of Last Resort’ (BPLR).
BPLRs are not community fire refuges or emergency relief centres. BPLRs are places of last resort during the passage of a bushfire, and are intended to be used by persons whose primary bushfire plans have failed. BPLRs are places of relative safety only.
They do not guarantee the survival of those who assemble there. Furthermore, there may be serious risks to safety encountered in travelling, and seeking access, to BPLRs during bushfire events. Depending on the direction of a particular fire, it may not be a safer place to assemble than other places within the municipal district.
BPLRs will be assessed by the CFA as providing some protection from immediate risk of direct fire attack, but not necessarily from other risks, such as flying embers. Where a potential BPLR, which is used for an operational purpose at many times, meets the
CFA’s criteria, then the CFA considers that those operational activities will be able to continue (to the extent practicable in the circumstances) while the place is being used as a BPLR.