In the warmer months, ocean dips and shopping centre aircon aren’t the only things Aussies should have on our minds. The sad truth is that, as the weather gets hotter and drier, many parts of Australia will become susceptible to bushfires.
Often unpredictable, bushfires can move swiftly so it’s always best to stay prepared in case you find yourself in one’s path. To help you stay one step ahead, we chatted to the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) to get their 5 top tips for preparing for bushfire season.
Most importantly, in the event of a bushfire, don’t risk your life. Leaving the night before or on the morning of a high-risk fire day should be your highest priority.
Prepare months before
Well before fire season, you should visit your state fire authority’s website or call them to get all the information you need to be bushfire ready.
- Familiarise yourself with the website and any of their social media channels.
- Check if they have a mobile phone app that you can download.
- Know where to find your emergency broadcaster, such as your local ABC radio channel.
Armed with the latest information, you’ll be better placed to make a good, early decision. Make sure you’re familiar with your local weather district so you can access the most relevant and up-to-date forecasts, alerts and warnings. As soon as fire season begins, you should make a habit of regularly checking your local fire danger ratings.
Remember: you don’t need to wait for a warning. Bushfires can start quickly and may threaten property and lives within moments.
Protect your home
Making sure your house is ready for a fire can increase its likelihood to survive. Here are some things you can do now to help protect your home:
- Make sure you have current and adequate Building and Contents Insurance. If you’ve recently done major renovations or purchased some pricey pieces, you should consider reviewing your cover.
- Regularly remove leaves and branches from your gutters and clear flammable items from around the house.
- Take special care to remove potential fuel sources from around your home such as woodpiles, outdoor furniture, paint, combustible chemicals, boxes and doormats.
- If you have LPG gas bottles, remember to turn the valves to point away from the house.
Prepare the backyard
- Regularly prune any overhanging branches within 10 metres of the house and keep the lawn mown to less than 10 centimetres.
- Replace flammable mulch in the garden with rocks or pebbles.
- Be careful to cut back any shrubs near or under windows and tidy the garden of any dry grass, leaves, twigs and loose bark.
Know your strategy
Before bushfire season starts, make a decision on which fire danger rating will trigger you to leave.
- Decide if you will leave the night before or in the morning.
- Have a number of different exit routes planned so that you have options if there's already a fire in the area.
- Make sure the entire family knows your emergency plan. This includes what to take, what to do with pets or livestock and what will happen if you can’t leave.
- Have an emergency kit ready to go including things like important documents, medications, protective clothing, a woollen blanket, a battery-powered radio and torch, along with spare batteries.
For more help and information, check with your local fire service:
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