DFES misfires

THE Department of Fire and Emergency Services has left some local residents scratching their heads after sending a fire chat letter to owners of properties in “high bushfire risk areas”.

Last month, one East Fremantle resident was shocked to receive the letter at his very suburban Dalgety Street home, telling him his property was in a high bushfire risk area and he needed to be prepared to make “life-changing decisions” in the event of a fire.

But there’s just one problem, East Fremantle isn’t a high bushfire risk area according to the department’s bushfire prone map, which begged the resident questioning, why was he sent the letter?

According to DFES the letters were sent around to home owners postal addresses, not to the specific properties at risk, so the letter in question was likely sent in relation to another property owned by the East Freo resident.

But the letter had no identifying features as to which property the fire risk referred to, so it’s no surprise he was a little bemused.

DFES Hazard Planning and Response Assistant Commissioner Paul Ryan said “the fire chat letter was mailed to owners of properties in high bushfire prone areas both in the metropolitan area and regional WA, as part of an annual campaign to help Western Australians prepare their homes and protect their families from the risk of bushfire”.

“Addresses were provided by local governments with personal details limited for privacy reasons, making it difficult to determine whether the property owner was also a local resident,” Mr Ryan said.

by EMILEE NEESON

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