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Bushfire preparation

Are you bushfire prepared?

History has shown that the cost of bushfires can have a devastating impact.

 

Preparing before a bushfire 

Fire safety and survival steps should be taken throughout the year to help reduce the fire risk to your property and livelihood during the peak bushfire season.

  • Prepare firebreaks
  • Fit metal screens and shutters, and ensure gaps are sealed
  • Create a 20m building protection zone around your house 
  • Know how you will access an emergency water supply
  • Discuss fire prevention with your neighbours
  • Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do in the event of a fire.

Autumn and winter

  • Remove lower tree branches
  • Clear long grass, leaves, twigs and shrubs from around your house and property
  • Store petrol and fuels in a shed away from the home
  • Ensure your personal and home protection equipment is in good working order.

Spring 

  • Move woodpile and stacked timber away from the house
  • Keep the grass short 
  • On farms, keep grazing pasture pressure high on areas near the house
  • Clean out gutters, remove debris from roof
  • Create firebreaks
  • Prepare an emergency fire kit, including a plan
  • Decide whether to stay or defend your property in the event of a fire.

Early summer 

  • Water lawns, trees and shrubs near the house to keep them green
  • Re-check personal and home protection gear, screens, water supplies and gutters.

 

Preparation is the key

Ensure you have a ‘survival kit’ pre-prepared. The kit should include:

  • portable radio
  • torch and batteries
  • drinking water
  • first aid kit
  • knapsack spray
  • protective clothing
  • goggles and gloves
  • extinguisher
  • ladder, shovel and hoses
  • towels and woollen blankets
  • safe storage box containing important documents, photos, valuables and medication
  • reliable means of communication during power failure (non-mains powered telephone and a fully charged mobile phone).

 

Protective clothing 

If you are in or near a bush fire it is important to wear protective clothing to avoid injury from smoke, sparks, embers and extreme heat. Cover as much of your skin as possible with two layers of loose fitting clothing made from natural fibres. 

  • Loose fitting clothes made from natural fibres like pure wool, heavy cotton drill or denim
  • Long sleeved shirts
  • Trousers, jeans or overalls
  • Sturdy leather shoes or boots without elastic side
  • Wool or cotton socks
  • A wide brimmed or hard hat
  • Gloves
  • Goggles or glasses to protect your eyes from ash and embers
  • A moistened face mask to protect your face from ash and other particles. 

 

Did you know

A detailed bushfire action plan is important as it will provide you with the tools to make informed decisions in a crisis situation and reduce the risk of serious injury, property damage and help protect your farm business. 

Encourage all members of your family to participate in the development and implementation of the plan as it will help maintain awareness of the ongoing fire prevention activities that need to occur throughout the year, not just in the peak summer months.