Did you know that around 90 per cent of homes destroyed by bushfire are due to burning embers? Embers have the ability to travel many kilometres from the fire. This means that even if you live well away from the bush you can still be at risk.
One of the most important things you can do to prepare is to have a conversation with everyone in your home about what you will do in a bush fire. It should take just 20 minutes.
Step 1: Discuss what to do if a bushfire threatens your home
Many households find that having a discussion over dinner works best as everybody is together and focused. One of the most important things to do before a bush fire is to decide what you’ll do if one should start.
Are you going to go early or stay and fight. The safest option is to go, but plan where you will go, how you will get there and what you will take. If you stay, do you have all the equipment you need and is your house bushfire ready? Also have a back-up plan for both cases. Fires can be unpredictable.
Step 2: Prepare your home for bushfire season
There are simple things you can do around your home to prepare it for a bush fire, like keeping the grass low and having a cleared area around your home. The five steps are to: trim (especially overhanging trees and shrubs), mow, remove (anything that can burn near your home, including wood piles and outdoor furniture), clear your gutters, prepare your hoses and water sources.
Other things you can do include blocking up areas where embers can enter the house, installing metal fly screens on all windows and vents and metal gutter guards, moving gas cylinders away from trees and gardens, moving garden beds away from house, replacing wood fences with metal fences and using stones instead of mulch.
Step 3: Know the bushfire alert levels
If there is a fire in your area you will find its alert level on the NSW RFS website and in the ‘Fires Near Me’ app. You need to keep track of the alert level so you know what you should do.
ADVICE: A fire has started. There is no immediate danger. Stay up to date in case the situation changes.
WATCH AND ACT: There is a heightened level of threat. Conditions are changing and you need to start taking action to protect you and your family.
EMERGENCY WARNING: An Emergency Warning is the highest level of bushfire alert. You may be in danger and need to take action immediately. Any delay now puts your life at risk.
Step 4: Keep informed with bushfire apps, social media and websites.
In a bush fire, it’s important that you stay up to date on conditions in your area.