Rising temperatures are a welcome change after the chilly winter months. But the hotter weather is also a warning that bushfire season is here. How can you ensure your home is as safe as possible?
Unfortunately, a bushfire sees your garden as fuel. Keep overhanging branches away from your home to limit opportunities for fire to reach your roof. Ensure your garden is free from debris such as dry leaves and bark so there’s less material to burn.
Store flammable items safely
Keep highly flammable objects like wood piles, gas cylinders and petrol containers well covered. Your car should be parked somewhere safe – ideally away from dense bush.
Know where you can find water
It's also important to know the location of water reservoirs, especially ones which are off grid, like water tanks, both for your own use and the use of the CFA. Make sure you have hoses or water supplies that reach the borders of your property, at least.
Protect against embers
Embers are a common way houses catch fire. Any gaps, such as under the roof or under the house, need to be blocked off with fire proof mesh or another inflammable material. Air vents are particularly dangerous as they can provide channels for fire to run to the centre of your home.
Water, water, water
If a fire is approaching and it’s safe to do so, plug gutters and drain pipes and fill them with water. Turn your garden sprinklers on. Fill every vessel you can with water. Water supply can be cut without warning and hoses might not work if they’ve been burned.
Above all, protect your loved ones
The things we own can be replaced. So, in a bushfire, your number one priority should be to make sure your family is safe. If you have warning a bushfire is coming, leave early. Do all you can to get your family and pets to a safe location out of the path of the fire.
If you’re stuck at home with a fire front approaching make sure there is plenty of drinking water available and wet towels are on hand to block any gaps where fire might enter. Constantly check perimeters for ember spot fires.
No-one wants to experience a bushfire. But, it's an unavoidable part of Australian summers. Preparing your home for a fire might be the most important thing you'll ever do.
For more information, check your state’s CFA website.