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Emergency Response to the Disaster

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Fire response teams and plans were already set in place even before the February 7 fires.   The Delburn fires were already active since January 30 and different people were already attending the emergency relief centers at Mirboo North and Churchill.   Registration with the Red Cross for volunteers was also ongoing (Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission, 2009).   The Victoria Emergency Management Council advised the Coordinator in Chief regarding the coordination of emergency response and recovery efforts before the fire broke out and the Minister was assured that emergency response teams were already in place for a possible disaster (Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission, 2009).   The Department of Human Services also assisted in preparing for the extreme weather temperature that was about to hit them.                                   In assessing the response of the Fire Disaster Management Team, it is clear to see that they were prepared to meet the disaster.   They were, in fact, anticipating it.   What they did not expect was the magnitude of the disaster.   Many of the fires started in areas which were difficult to access.   And this limited access made it impossible for the fire response teams to control and put out fires.   As they were coming up with ways to access these roads, the fires were becoming even bigger and wider in coverage— wreaking havoc to more vegetation, forests, and infrastructure.   Their air response crews were of a limited number to put out simultaneous fires.   The fires were spreading faster – more than the ground crews and the aircrews could handle.   Coupled with strong winds, the conditions for that day could not be contained fast enough to control or even limit its impact.   More crews were needed and such crew was not made available in the short time it took for the fires to create much damage.   Even as the fire response crews were indeed prepared and anticipating the bushfires, they were not prepared enough to meet the overwhelming challenges of the fire.  

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