In Australia, as in most wealthy nations, the state seeks to address the possibility of disaster and deals with the consequences. Policy is developed and, via state agencies, communities are encouraged to address wildfire events. Recently, there has been a recognition by fire agencies of the importance of ‘shared responsibility’ in relation to these events (Teague et al., 2010). The idea of shared responsibility in relation to wildfire emerged out of the debates that inform risk theory (McLennan and Handmer, 2012). There are three core dimensions to the notion: obligation, multiple parties and multifaceted risk management. These ideas represent a qualification of the dominant narrative about self-reliance in the face of disaster events (see McLennan and Handmer, 2012: 2). While the emphasis in policy discourse had long been on ‘Prepare, Stay and Defend, or Leave Early’ (PSDLE) in practice the relations between fire and emergency agencies and households and others in localities are more complicated. Here, we build on the outlines provided in the previous chapter to illuminate how participants understood the function of agencies and the relationship with communities on the ground. Rather unsurprisingly, at times, their experiences differed from the formal representation of how policies, procedures and functions were supposed to operate. These accounts are especially valuable as this level of information about the actual practice can be difficult to acquire, and official documents and websites do not tell us about the realities of how processes function.