Reduce your risk

Reduce your risk
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The majority of homes destroyed in bushfires are due to burning embers that can be blown up to 30km from a fire front, so it pays to be ready.

Having an up-to-date bushfire survival plan is essential, because when a fire is approaching, there is little time to make difficult decisions like when to leave, what to take and whether you will stay and defend.

Visit the fire service website for your state to familiarise yourself with the Fire Danger Rating system, make your bushfire survival plan and stay updated on the latest conditions.

In bushfire-prone areas, keeping your property maintained and equipped with fire prevention tools can reduce the risk of losing it.

While new houses that are built close to bushland are subject to strict regulations to give them a greater chance of withstanding a bushfire, older homes are more susceptible.

Inspect your property, looking for hazards that could cause a fire.

Flammable material such as firewood and petrol should not be stored within 20m of the property, lawns should be mowed short and leaves removed.

Trees and shrubs should be kept neat and compact, and spaced apart to help prevent fires from spreading.

Prune the lower limbs and remove bark and growth from the base of trees. Consider landscaping the yard, using paths and driveways to provide a firebreak.

Install sprinkler systems on lawns and in garden beds and avoid using timber sleepers for garden beds near the house.

Seal all gaps in walls including the underfloor area, under eaves, and around windows and doors.

Replace broken tiles and seal the roof around chimneys and vents.

If you have a dam or water tank, install a firefighting pump fitted with a long hose that can reach all the way around the house.

Don’t have a water tank? Here’s how to install one.


Your bushfire survival plan

Your bushfire survival plan
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If you live in a high-risk area, consider your options and discuss them as a family before any threat of fire occurs.

Review your plan regularly to keep it up to date.

Evacuate early

When the fire danger rating is catastrophic:

  • If your property and home have not been prepared.
  • If there are children, elderly or disabled people involved.
  • If you have a house that is vulnerable to fire, such as a timber-clad home.
  • If you are not confident using fire-safety equipment.
  • If you don’t have adequate protective clothing.

Try these 6 ways you can fireproof your home.

Discuss and answer the below questions with your family

Discuss and answer the below questions with your family
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1. We will leave early under these circumstances (fire nearby, smoke, loss of water and power, and the ability to leave home safely):

2. The safe place we will go to is:

3. The route we will take to get there is:

4. Our alternative route is:

5. The important papers, medicine, and kids’ and pets’ needs we’ll take are:

6. We will tell these neighbours, family members and friends where we are going and how we will get there:

Before leaving

Close doors and windows, bring mats and outdoor timber furniture inside.

Block downpipes with a sand-filled stocking and fill gutters with water.

Take phones, chargers, important papers, medicine, wallets and keys.

Turn off the gas and electricity. Move pets and livestock to safety.

Leave the front gate open for emergency services.

Clearing winter leaves out of gutters is essential before heavy spring rains and the bushfire season, but it can be messy.

Stay and defend

Stay and defend
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  • When the property is prepared and well maintained:
  • If you’re emotionally and physically prepared to fight a fire.
  • If you know what to do before, during and after a fire.
  • If you know how to use the fire-safety equipment.
  • If you have head-to-toe safety clothing to wear.
  • If you have a backup plan in case something goes wrong.

Before fire approaches

  • Listen for alerts on ABC local radio.
  • Dress in protective clothing.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Shut all doors and windows.
  • Place wet blankets or towels under doors to keep embers out.
  • Turn off the mains gas supply.
  • Block downpipes with a sand-filled stocking and fill gutters with water.
  • Move cars away from the house.
  • Turn on the sprinkler system.

Discuss and answer the below questions with your family

1. These people will stay and defend (if kids or others will be relocated, list who is going and where they’ll go):

2. As fire or embers approach, we will:

3. When the fire arrives, our plan is to (stay inside, check the roof space, put on the sprinklers):

4. After the fire has passed, we will (include places to check for embers over several hours, animals’ welfare):