For many Australians, we associate summer with time out on the beach or by the river, and basically keeping as cool as we can close to water.
But increasingly, summer is a time for dreaded bush fires, and recent years in particular have reminded us just how ferocious and unforgiving they can be.
When it comes to preparing your home for bush fire season, the first step is to have a communications plan and an action plan, and to make sure that everyone who lives in the house is aware of every step and responsibility within each of these plans.
Contact your local CFA to find out more about this.
Aside from a plan, we hope you find these other tips useful.
1. Preparation In Planting
There is such a thing as ‘fire wise’ plants – flora that essentially has a low flammable rating.
If you’ve just started landscaping a new property or you are thinking of making some changes to your garden, look into low-flammable plants.
2. Building With Bush Fires in Mind
If you’ve just started your renovation plans, then consider materials such as sarking, which is reflective non-combustible sheeting that can be laid onto the roof.
Certainly you can make this addition to an existing home however, it will be at a cost.
When it comes to house materials, much of the preparation is about ember protection.
In the middle of a fire, these far-flying hot embers can and are responsible for starting whole new fires.
If you have exposed timber, such as window frames, then consider laying wire mesh screens over so as to prevent embers from contacting the wood.
3. Spring Clean
Before the weather warms up, you can get out and enjoy some exercise and prepare the house for bush fire season at the same time!
Gutters and rooftops are a great collection point for leaves that drop towards the end of winter.
It is imperative they be removed, otherwise once fully dry they can become kindling for fires.
Just be sure to follow all safety guides and take full precautions before climbing ladders, jumping onto the roof etc.
In addition, keep grass, shrubs and hedges cut low and ideally remove any flammable plants that are too close to the house.
4. Are All The Tools At The Ready?
Fires can move incredibly fast, so it’s important your home is equipped with all the necessary firefighting tools before it arrives.
Certainly if your plan is to leave before a fire, then this tip is not as necessary for you.
If your plan is however, to remain with your house, then is everything set to go?
Do you have buckets and other easily-carried water vessels at the ready?
Is your low-flammable fire-fighting and protective gear all in the one place and easy to reach?
Are hoses neatly rolled and ready to spring into action without a hitch?
Can you easily locate shovels, and wet bags that are great for stamping out spot fires?
5. Emergency Supply Kit
It’s a smart idea to have a kit packed and ready in the case of a bush fire. In this kit would contain all the truly essential items that your family could literally not live without if they were cut off from the rest of the world for one day or more.
So items might include – essential medication, First Aid equipment, non-perishable food (for family members and pets), and water.
Then consider other items such as spare clothing, sanitary items, important documents, fully charged torch, etc.
It’s a good idea to sit down in the calm of spring and write a list of things that are essential to your family, then make sure they are all packed into this kit.
These are just some tips to prepare your home in case of a bush fire.
This is by no means a complete checklist; there are in fact so many other equally essential and useful tips, so be sure to contact your CFA to find out more.