Planning and working in the bushfire season
When working in bushfire prone areas during the bushfire season, you need to be aware of important information when undertaking scheduled works on behalf of Yarra Valley Water.
Designated bushfire prone areas
The designated bushfire prone areas are used to identify areas of high fire risk and are likely to be particularly exposed to the impact of bushfire.
This information is to be used in conjunction with Country Fire Authority, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Department of Environment and Primary Industries and Victorian Police advice on Extreme or Code Red fire danger rating days.
Fire Danger Rating
The Fire Danger Rating predicts how a fire would behave if one started, including how difficult it would be to put out - the higher the rating, the more dangerous the conditions.
Fire Danger Ratings are forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology during the Bushfire season and can be found on the Country Fire Authority website.
The VicEmergency app is the official Victorian Government app for access to community information and warnings for all types of emergencies in Victoria.
Working on Extreme or Code Red Fire Danger Rated Days
Scheduled Works could be affected on Extreme or Code Red fire danger rated days.
The following limited operations and work will be expected to continue in bushfire prone areas on Extreme or Code Red days if there is no significant fire active at the commencement of shift:
- Priority Emergency Work
- Treatment Plant Operation
Work located outside of designated bushfire prone areas may continue as usual.
The following work should not be undertaken in a designated bushfire prone area on Extreme or Code Red fire danger rated days:
- Non-priority emergency works including W3, W4, S3 and M3
- Scheduled and planned works including W5, WQ, S4, M4, and M5, Re2, Re3, meter reading, meter replacement and sampling.
- Planned water shut off
- Tapping under pressure
Damage to Gas Services
Gas service damage can occur when excavating earth to work on a Yarra Valley Water asset. The response to this type of incident is important to ensure your safety and that of the general public.
There are also legal requirements that you need to understand and action.
In most instances where a gas service is damaged, contractors will escalate the incident to the relevant gas distributor before the Contractor makes the area safe.
The interpretation of “make the area safe” differs in every organisation. In some cases, it means leave the immediate area and in others it means crimp the service to stem the flow of gas.
Energy Safe Victoria Recommendations
Energy Safe Victoria (ESV), the regulator of electricity, gas and pipeline safety, advises that steaming the flow of gas by crimping or any other method must not be undertaken by anyone other than a gas distributor.
Crimping a gas service is an offence under the Gas Safety Act and substantial penalties apply for the individual that performs the activity.
What should I do if a gas service is damaged?
In the event that a gas service is damaged Energy Safe Victoria recommends that response is limited to:
- Remove ignition sources and evacuate the area
- Contact the relevant gas distributor
- Contact emergency services (if required)
- AusNet Services Faults 13 67 07
- Multinet Faults 13 26 91
- Australian Gas Network 1800 427 532
- Contact WorkSafe Victoria (if a notifiable incident)
- Keep a safe distance until the gas distributor representative or emergency services arrive and direct the action to be taken
- Advise your Yarra Valley Water contract manager of the incident
- Ensure the safety of the public
When performing excavation work the methods listed below can be used to locate underground services. These include:
- Dial before you dig and other utility plans
- Use of asset locating equipment
- Request gas distributors to mark alignments (if possible)
- Hand proving
Gas Safety Act 1997, Part 3 Section 79(d) states “A person must not knowingly, recklessly or negligently break, injure, open or tamper with any pipeline, gas installation or meter assembly.”