All Marysville residents should have been formally warned to leave the town before the fire hit on Black Saturday, a local woman says.
Barbara Muir, who lost her house and business at Marysville, where 34 people died, said an official warning such as a town evacuation siren should have been used.
Ms Muir and her husband Christopher left Marysville just before 7 pm on Black Saturday, as the fire reached the back of their house.
"There was nothing official. It was all word-of-mouth. One person told the other who told another ... that's how people evacuated," Ms Muir said ahead of a bushfire royal commission community consultation in Marysville.
"We were listening to the radio but it was just updating the fire situation, talking about ember attack.
"But at 6 o'clock there was no smoke in the town. People were starting to leave because of reports of ember attack."
Ms Muir said a siren at the local fire station, believed to have been used to direct the CFA where they were needed, should have been used to alert residents of the approaching fire.
"If there were a town evacuation procedure that included an evacuation siren, everybody would have gone," she said.
"One of the big concerns is the lack of information. The question is whether there should be an evacuation procedure but it happened so quickly."
Ms Muir said that local radio, which was constantly issuing fire updates, should have encouraged residents to evacuate, rather than just reporting on local ember attacks.
The Muirs' house, along with Terracotta Room - their restaurant, wine shop and deli - perished in the fire.
The couple, who moved to Marysville from the Blue Mountains 18 months ago, are staying with friends, but Ms Muir said they would like to live in Marysville again.
Commission Chairman Bernard Teague encouraged the residents to discuss the procedures that did not work during the fires so that they could be improved in the future.
He said while the commission's terms of reference were extremly broad, community consultations enabled the commissioners to tackle issues most pertinent to fire-affected communities and give them priority.
"The number of lives lost is so great compared to anyting that's happened in the past that we can't afford such loss of life in the future," Mr Teague said.
The commission will hold three more consultation sessions, which are closed to the media, at the Marysville Country Club with Marysville residents today and tomorrow.
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