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Stay safe this summer on the Bass Coast

Stay safe this summer on the Bass Coast

Published:
Tuesday 13 December 2022

As thousands of visitors prepare to take a festive break in one of our state’s most loved regions, Bass Coast Shire Council has called on locals and visitors to play their part to help ensure everyone stays safe this summer.

Bass Coast Mayor Michael Whelan said the summer holiday season was one of the busiest times for the area and it was important everyone helped maintain community safety.

“During peak holiday seasons, the Bass Coast population swells to more than 70,000 so it is imperative that the community looks out for not only themselves but each other as well to ensure everyone has a memorable break and goes home safe and sound,” Cr Whelan said.

Dogs on Beaches

Dogs love our beaches as much as we do, but it is important that pet owners check and adhere to any restrictions and the clearly detailed maps before running their pooches.

In public places across Bass Coast, dogs must be on a lead at all times unless in a designated off-leash area.

There is also a requirement for dogs within 20m of an organised sporting or practice event, a playground or a permanent barbecue or picnic area to be on a chain, cord or leash.

“Seasonal restrictions are in place to ensure everyone can enjoy our beautiful beaches and, in some places like Phillip Island, help to protect our vulnerable native wildlife,” Cr Whelan said.

“We urge dog owners to act responsibly by keeping their pets out of prohibited areas and only running them in designated spaces at the specified times.”

Fire Season

As the fire season approaches, stakeholders have been working hard to ensure the Bass Coast is adequately prepared.

This includes the CFA, Victoria Police, Parks Victoria, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Phillip Island Nature Parks, Bass Coast Shire Council and VicRoads who work together to plan for potential bushfire emergencies in Bass Coast.

While the Fire Danger Period has not yet been declared for Bass Coast, locals and visitors can still make important preparations to contribute to the fire safety of our region and Emergency Management Officers will soon start fire prevention inspections.

“Fast-moving grass fires are the biggest risk in Bass Coast and can catch people off-guard if they are not prepared,” Cr Whelan said.

“The latest weather conditions have brought advanced grass growth to certain areas in Bass Coast, so it is vital that all property owners understand the importance of adequately maintaining their land to avert disaster.

“The fire danger can increase unexpectedly after a few hot, windy days so being organised is the best defence.

“We understand that some areas may be too wet for machinery to be used safely, but encourage manual works to minimise the load. Private properties should be maintained all year round and not specifically during the Fire Danger Period.”

To download the VicEmergency app, visit emergency.vic.gov.au. We also recommend saving the VicEmergency Hotline 1800 226 226 in your mobile phone in case of an emergency.

Victoria Police will also be conducting targeted patrols during the Fire Danger Period. Anyone detected lighting fires or using illegal fireworks during the Fire Danger Period will be prosecuted.

Anyone who sees anything suspicious is encouraged to contact Police on 000 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Fireworks

The Bass Coast Shire Council townships of Inverloch, Coronet Bay and Cowes will ring in the New Year with fireworks displays on December 31. For more details about the festivities click here.

Please remember that private use of fireworks is prohibited. Not only can it pose a fire risk, but can be hazardous and has the potential to cause injury and damage.

Loud and unfamiliar sounds such as fireworks can distress dogs and other pets. You may wish to keep your pets inside. Please ensure your pets are registered and identifiable with a microchip.

Safe Swimming

Bass Coast Council is urging everyone to be safe by the water this summer, in particular reminding beachgoers to swim between the red and yellow flags.

“To stay safe while swimming at our beaches swim at patrolled beaches and swim between the flags,”

“It is important to never swim alone, keep children under supervision at all times, follow the advice of lifesavers and protect yourself from the harsh summer sun,” he said.

“Being alert to potential hazards is imperative. It doesn’t matter if we are locals or visitors, strong swimmers or less proficient swimmers, anyone can get caught in a rip and get into danger,” Cr Whelan said.

“Most beaches have rips, which are often difficult to spot and can change suddenly.”

Rips can be identified as darker water with no or fewer breaking waves, a rippled surface surrounded by smooth water or foamy, sandy, discoloured water, or by objects floating away from shore.

Download the Beachsafe app or visit www.beachsafe.org.au for the latest conditions and current information for every beach in Australia. The app also shows patrol services, hazards, swell and tides.