As Victoria braces for extreme temperatures, RACV is urging holidaymakers to be prepared and aware of bushfire danger before setting off on summer road trips.
The call comes ahead of what is expected to be a bumper Victorian bushfire season and in the wake of tragic bushfires in Queensland and New South Wales.
RACV Spokesperson Brodie Bott said without preparation Victorian holidaymakers could be driving their families into danger.
“If your holiday destination is in a high-risk fire zone, go to the CFA website to find out what fire district you are travelling to. Once you’ve identified what district you’re heading to find out what the current fire rating is for this area,” Mr Bott said. “Conditions can change quickly, as we’ve seen in northern states in recent times, so make sure you stay up-to-date with the latest weather forecast.
“Just as important, holidaymakers should tune into local radio and TV stations and make sure the VicEmergency Hotline (1800 226 226) is saved in your phone and download the VicEmergency app on your mobile or tablet and set up watch zones.”
RACV also suggested holidaymakers carry out a few critical safety checks before hitting the road. They include:
- Having a mechanic check that their vehicle is in good working order and free from potential defects
- Making sure the battery is in good condition as high temperatures can affect it
- Checking that all tyres (as well as the spare tyre) have sufficient tread and are correctly inflated
- Fuelling up the vehicle so you don’t get stranded, and
- Stocking up the vehicle with emergency supplies like water and pure wool blankets.
“The best way to avoid a potentially deadly situation is to plan to leave early.” Mr Bott said. “But if you get caught out, there a few things you can do to protect yourself, including parking your vehicle away from dense bushland and near a brick wall.
“Vehicle crashes are common in bushfire areas due to reduced visibility so the best thing drivers can do is park off the road with their hazard lights on.
“If you have to drive through a fire, make sure you and your family stay in the car, keep your windows up, shut off the vents, try to get down below the window level and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.”
Watch RACV's bushfire preparation video, produced with the CFA.
For media enquiries, interviews or images, contact RACV’s Media & Communications team on 03 9790 2572 or 0417 041 398.