With the weather getting hotter and drier, the fire danger period in many parts of Australia begins in spring, so leaving any preparation to summer means you may be too late. For the best results, do your planning all year round.
Don't take the risk
Most importantly, In the event of a bushfire, don’t risk your life. Getting away from the threat is the safest option. Leaving the night before or on the morning of a high risk fire day should be your highest priority.
5 ways to help you get fire ready:
1. Know where to go for information
Well before fire season, visit your state fire authority’s website (details below) or call them to get all the information you need to be fire ready.
Most have a comprehensive checklist that you should read. Familiarise yourself with the website and any of their social media channels.
Several states also have a mobile phone app that you can download. Also know where to find your emergency broadcaster, such as the local ABC radio channel.
2. Stay informed during fire season
Once fire season begins, make a habit of checking your local fire danger ratings and understand how that impacts the whole family.
Know what your local weather district is so you can access the most relevant and up-to-date forecasts, alerts and warnings. Armed with the latest information, you’ll be better placed to make a good, early decision.
You don’t need to wait for a warning. Bushfires can start quickly and may threaten property and lives within moments.
3. Know your strategy
Before fire season starts, make a decision about which fire danger rating will be your trigger to leave and whether you’ll go the night before or in the morning.
Have a number of routes planned so that you have options in case there's already a fire in the area. Make sure the entire family has discussed plans for leaving, including 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 that includes important documents, medications, protective clothing, a woollen blanket, and a battery-powered radio and torch, along with spare batteries.
4. Prepare the house
Making sure your house is ready for a fire can increase the likelihood that it will survive. Firstly make sure you have current and adequate home and contents insurance. Clean leaves and branches from your gutters and clear flammable items from around the house.
Take special care to remove potential fuel sources such as woodpiles, outdoor furniture, paint, combustible chemicals, boxes and doormats. If you have LPG gas bottles, turn the valves to point away from the house.
5. Prepare the yard
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.
Cut back any shrubs near or under windows and tidy the garden of any dry grass, leaves, twigs and loose bark.
For more information, check with your local fire service:
Disclaimer: Things you should know: Speak to your Home Insurance provider about any policy limits and exclusions that may apply. NRMA Home Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 AFSL 227681 trading as NRMA Insurance. This is general advice only so to see if a product is right for you, always consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement available from NRMA Insurance.