RIPLEY presents as an ideal location for many home owners who are seeking a quality brand new home, within a strong and connected master planned community away from the hustle and bustle of city living, yet still connected to major infrastructure such as main roads, public transport, education and retail opportunities.
In addition to the conveniences of modern life and housing affordability, our residents are choosing Ripley because of the tranquillity of living in a tree lined regional area, where wildlife such as kangaroos and wallabies are the norm.
The lure to a quieter regional life can be appealing yet it comes with a certain level of responsibility. In the excitement of settling into a new routine in a new community, bushfire awareness and preparation can often be overlooked, yet it is important that all Ripley residents are aware and equipped to respond to local fires to ensure their family's safety.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) are launching a new bushfire campaign Operation Knock Knock, hosted by the Ripley Town Centre with the agenda of educating Queenslanders to prepare in the event of a bushfire. The campaign encourages people to search their postcode on the campaign website which then prompts people to complete a bushfire survival plan if they live in a bushfire hot spot.
According to the QFES website postcode checker, Ripley is deemed to be a bushfire 'hot spot'. A bushfire survival plan can be completed online or by completing the QFES booklet - Bushfire Survival Plan.
I popped into the Ripley Valley Rural Fire Brigade station to chat with Ripley Station Officer, Brad Dull, about the Operation Knock Knock campaign and the risks for Ripley residents. Brad was adamant that this fire season was shaping up to be particularly risky due to an unseasonably dry winter, but advised the team, including volunteer personal, at the 24-hour manned station were prepared. I watched Brad suit up into his personal protective equipment during our chat in response to a local call out and was impressed at how effortlessly he coordinated his departure.
After 30 years on the job, Brad says he has seen it all, but time and time again it's those homeowners who have educated themselves, are prepared and have a plan which assists them in making informed decisions in keeping themselves and their loved ones safe.
QFES has conducted what Brad refers to as "Operation Cool Burn”, where hazard reduction burns are carried out to reduce the fuel load in strategic areas, yet disasters can at times be unpredictable and circumstances can change so quickly that even the best mitigation practices will not slow down a bushfire if the conditions are strong.
Brad maintains that the best defence is to always be prepared, have a survival kit, plan, be ready and rehearsed with family members, and include your neighbours. A united community response to disasters makes for a resilient community that can face even the worse disaster if they are connected and looking out for one another.
Should Ripley residents feel like they need guidance in recognising fire and safety hazards in and around the home, the QFES Safe Home initiative will see volunteer fighters attend at a time convenient to your household and create a free safe home visit.
Clare Inwood, Emergency Management Officer for Ipswich City Council, advised residents could be kept up to date on road conditions, weather warnings, fire incidents, power and water outages, river heights, school closures and emergency news all in the one spot by visiting Ipswich City Council's Emergency Management Dashboard.
Clare also encouraged all residents to register for 'My Ipswich Alerts' to receive information directly via email or smartphone app about potentially dangerous weather and bushfires within the city of Ipswich and messages from Ipswich City Council related to disaster and emergency management.
There is an abundance of information and resources readily available to educate residents this bushfire season. Please heed the QFES message - 'Prepare, Act, Survive' - and stay safe this bushfire season.
For more information, log onto:
Ipswich City Council's Emergency Management Dashboard: http://emd.ipswich.qld.gov.au/
My Ipswich Alerts: https://www.ipswich.qld.gov.au/residents/
QFES bushfire campaign: www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au