FIRE DANGER SEASON FOR STARTS 1ST DECEMBER AND FINISHES 30TH APRIL
Living with a bushfire risk - As you live in a high bushfire risk area you can expect several days a year on which you, your family and your house may be threatened by fire. Therefore you need a practical Bushfire Plan to know exactly what you and your family will do on these days.
CFS Protecting your home and property - CFS cannot guarantee the presence of a fire fighting vehicle and crew to protect every home in a major bushfire. It is therefore extremely important to plan for your family's safety and be self-reliant. Making the right decision about whether to stay or go is critical for your own safety and that of your family.
Property Access - Clear access will allow for the safe movement of fire fighting vehicles. Gateways should be at least three metres wide. Roadways need a well compacted surface with slopes no greater than one metre rise for every four metres, with solid crossings over permanent waterways. Turn areas of 25 metres in diameter are necessary.
Bushfire Survival - Stay or Go? - You must assess your individual situation and decide to STAY or GO. Remember, you need to decide NOW and act early on your plan. Making the right decision to stay or go for yourself and your family is critical for your safety and survival.
If you are planning to go your decision needs to be made well before the Fire Danger Season and planning is as important as it would be if you were to stay. Consider these points in your plan:
Making a Bushfire Survival Plan - Protection of your home, family, pets and assets are your responsibility. Every home and every person's situation is different, that is why every household needs to develop their own Bushfire Emergency Plan.
When To Leave - It may be appropriate to go to your chosen refuge on any day the bushfire danger is extremely high.
Do not wait until a bushfire threatens, monitor the radio and leave well before the fire front arrives. Never wait until the last moment and follow your pre-season plan.
If Family Members Get Separated - Plan what you will do if fire comes while your children are at school or family members are at work. Find out the school's policy on bushfires. Do not allow panic to drive anyone into life threatening conditions searching for missing relatives or pets.
Water Supply - Mains water cannot be relied on during bushfires as power could be cut or water pressure dramatically reduced.
If you have water tanks, dams or a swimming pool, a portable pump and a hose will be required to provide water reserves for the CFS. Gravity fed water tanks with wide opening outlets enable quick filing of buckets plus the use of portable pumps.
To use your pumping equipment fit gate valves to all new tanks. Ideally your water supply should be close to the house and there should not be exposed areas of plastic pipe or hose to melt.
Managing vegetation around your home - Fuels naturally build up over time and without active management have the potential to accumulate to such an extent that fire control is difficult or under some conditions impossible.
Prepare Properties and Homes - It's important people have their own fire fighting equipment and safety items, and have a battery operated radio on hand for news updates.
Prepare the Family and Pet Animals - People should have their survival kit ready; make their home a safe place of refuge for family members, care for their pets and livestock, by placing them in a safe area during a bushfire. Ensure your dogs and cats are identified and registered to increase the chance of being reunited if you become separated.
Why Do Houses Burn? - Many houses survive the fire front only to be destroyed later by fires started from burning debris. Strong winds can break glass or damage roofs allowing flying embers to get inside.
In a bushfire houses can burn because of
Spark Proofing - Survival of the house can depend on stopping sparks and burning material entering through windows, under doors, roofs and floorboards.
Protect you home by:
Air Conditioners and Skylights
To block sparks and smoke from entering your house, turn off evaporative air conditioners. Plastic skylights may melt and glass ones can break in heat and flames. Install wire meshed glass or thermoplastic covers to skylights.
Parking In The Hills - Where and how you park your vehicle is an issue in the hills all year round but more so during bushfire season.
Lives and homes are put at risk if access to fire tracks or the most direct route to a fire is impeded by thoughtlessly parked cars obstructing traffic.
When you park your vehicle ensure that there is at least three metres of road clearance alongside your car which will allow other vehicles to pass. This is required by law and you may save a life!.
Responsibility - The onus is on people living in fire risk areas to take responsibility for their own safety and security, therefore it is important that a property owner does the necessary hazard reduction work around their property. With the correct preparations and planning you can survive a bushfire.
Those land owners that ignore the need to prepare their property for the fire danger season not only endanger their own property, but also the lives and property of their neighbours and the community.
If you are unsure of some of the answers or do not understand contact Council's Bushfire Prevention Officer on 8408 0400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an inspection or advice, or visit the CFS website on http://www.cfs.org.au/.
REMEMBER, A WELL PREPARED PROPERTY IS YOUR BEST DEFENCE