Bushfires are a fact of life in Australia ” are you prepared?
Every summer we hear about bushfires threatening the homes and lives of people all over Australia. You may have even witnessed a bushfire before.
If you live in an area that is at risk of bushfires, you need to be prepared, and have a plan of action in place in case of an emergency ” this means you and your family should know exactly what to do if a bushfire comes your way.
Your plan should include whether your plan to stay and defend your property, or whether you will evacuate. You should NEVER try to stay and defend your home if the fire is too close, or if your home has caught fire. If you are advised to evacuate, you should do so immediately.
Each family member should have a specific role to play in your bushfire plan. You will need to decide where you can go if you need to evacuate, what to do if some family members are at school or work when the fire hits, what you will do if you have elderly relatives, what you will do with your pets, and which possessions you will take with your and which you will leave behind. Have important documents, medications and other valuables packed and ready to go.
Remember: Have an evacuation plan in place and practice it. Never go inside a burning building. If your home catches fire, get down, stay low and get out!
Keep your home safe
There are plenty of things you can do to make your home safer if a bushfire hits. Before the bushfire season starts you should:
- Install smoke alarms;
- Keep your grass cut short, cut back overhanging trees and keep your yard clear of fallen leaves and twigs;
- Clean leaves out of gutters;
- Make sure you have access to a good water supply;
- Have some fire fighting equipment on hand, just in case. This includes ladders, hoses, buckets, mops, a rake, a torch; and
- Keep protective clothing for all the family handy and ready to wear. Clothing made of natural fibre is safest ” long pants and light, long-sleeved wool or close-weave cotton shirts and jumpers will protect you. You will also need sturdy leather footwear and a hat.
For more information for what to do in case of bushfire, speak to your local fire department, who can give you more specific advice based on where you live. They can also help you to check that your property is fire safe.