When it comes to protecting your home and family from bushfire, preparation is absolutely essential.
Preparation starts outside your home with your garden layout.
All state based emergency services advise having an emergency survival kit packed before bushfire season begins. Essentials include:
This is also the time to pack any sentimental items so that they can be easily found and taken with you if you have to leave quickly. Put the kit in an accessible location the whole family knows about.
Draw up an evacuation plan for family and pets that designates an assembly point, responsibilities, and transport. Not everyone responds calmly in a crisis, so regular practice of the evacuation drill with the whole family is important preparation.
If you need assistance devising an evacuation plan, Country Fire Authorities has this helpful bushfire action plan template.
If you live in a bushfire-prone area, these additions are recommended for your home:
The colourful semi-circle has been a familiar sight along Australian roads for decades, but it was only in 2009 that all Australian states and territories adopted a uniform Fire Danger Rating (FDR) system.
Each of the six colour-coded sections calibrates a range of data and forecasting from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) as well as localised factors like fuel load and terrain.
Getting familiar with what they mean, and how best to respond, can be life saving.
Low to moderate: Controlled burning by authorities may occur at hte right conditions. Homes can provide shelter from smoke haze.
High: Be aware of how fires start and reduce risk around your home. Check your bushfire survival plan. Remain alert.
Very high: Hot, dry and windy conditions. If a fire starts it may be hard for fire fighters to control. Be ready to evacuate for safer ground.
Severe: Very hot, dry and windy conditions. A fire will be unpredictable and spot fires from embers will move quickly. Only stay to actively defend property if you are prepared to the highest level and your home has been designed to withstand bushfire. Otherwise leave without delay.
Extreme: A fire front will be unpredictable, fast moving and difficult for fire fighters to gain control. Embers will come from many directions. Leave without delay for a safter area, avoiding long grass and forested areas.
Catastrophic: A fire front will be large, unpredictable and almost impossible for firefightsers to regain control until cooler conditions prevail. Spot fires will start well ahead of the main fire front and spread rapidly. Homes are not constructed to withstand these conditions. Leave immediately at the issue of this warning. Do not wait and see.
Remember, preparing for a bushfire can save you, your family, your property and your livelihood.
Check your insurance covers you for all bushfire eventualities including rebuilding, smoke and water damage, and vehicle loss or damage.
It is advised to consult your state fire and emergency services for further information. This article should be used as a guide only.
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