Being ready or prepared for an emergency is the key to making informed and wise decisions during an emergency. We have compiled lists of resources to assist preparedness for an emergency for yourself, your children, business, pets, property, and others.
Ways to stay informed during a bushfire
In an emergency always call 000 for expert medical assistance.
For assistance in a mental health emergency, contact the Mental Health Triage Service. Telephone 13 14 65 available 24 hours, seven days a week.
Readiness for you
The information and advice below is of a general nature, for more comprehensive information, follow the links on this page.
This page contains content about bushfires. If you find this distressing and need support please seek assistance using the resources at the link below.
Preparing for bushfire
Preparing for a bushfire is an essential part of living in a high fire risk area like the Adelaide Hills. Having a plan will help you to cope mentally throughout the bushfire season, by reducing the uncertainty and anxiety around what you and your family will do if a threat arises.
People who have experienced a bushfire, often talk about how flustered and anxious they felt during the event. Having a written plan that includes the whole family and has been rehearsed, can help to alleviate stress when you need to put your plan into action.
On this page you will find resources, guides and supports to help you become bushfire ready.
SA Country Fire Service
The CFS has a range of easy to use tools and information to help you develop a Bushfire Survival Plan and to assess whether your household is ready.
Bushfire Survival Plan
Your safety and survival during a bushfire will depend on how prepared you are and the decisions you make.
Don't wait — create your 5 Minute Bushfire Plan now for you, your family, and your pets and livestock.
Bushfire safety guide
The CFS bushfire safety guide includes more comprehensive information to help you protect your home and family, including a template for a more detailed Bushfire Survival Plan.
It will help you understand how to make your property less vulnerable to bushfire attack and what your choices are if a bushfire threatens your home.
Community Fire Safe
Community Fire Safe is a program coordinated by the CFS that encourages residents living in bushfire risk areas to form small groups and work together in preparing and protecting their families and properties from bushfire. The CFS will support the process of developing local community fire safe groups.
Bushfire traveller safety
Bushfires can occur without warning and can quickly affect your location. If you are travelling in the country for work or leisure, you should also think about bushfire safety.
This leaflet will help you manage your country travel plans and help you prepare yourself and your vehicle in case a bushfire does occur.
Subscribe to CFS emails
To increase access to CFS bushfire warnings and other important information, the CFS maintain an email subscription service. They use emails to provide information on active bushfires and other incidents that CFS are attending, as well as providing useful information, including upcoming workshops and events.
To subscribe to receive this information:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- with subject line: SUBSCRIBE CFS-SUBSCRIBERS ANONYMOUS
- with message: SUBSCRIBE CFS-SUBSCRIBERS ANONYMOUS
Fire Danger Season
The Fire Danger Season generally runs from November to April. During the season, restrictions are placed on lighting fires and other activities to reduce the chance of bushfires starting.
Australian Fire Danger Ratings
As of 1 September 2022, the Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS) has changed. The Adelaide Hills has been affected by many bushfires, so when in the Hills it's important for residents and visitors to be prepared.
The new Australian Fire Danger Rating System is your simplified survival tool. These ratings tell you how dangerous a bushfire could be if it broke out and what you need to do to stay safe.
The system now has four levels - moderate, high, extreme and catastrophic.
It also introduces a ‘no rating’ for days where no proactive action is required by a community. This means that any fires that start are less likely to move or act in a way that threatens the safety of the community.
Australian Red Cross
If you want to prepare for disasters, have experienced a disaster or are recovering from a disaster, Red Cross has a host of useful emergency management resources that can help.
Create an emergency RediPlan
Make an emergency plan for your household to protect what matters most. This is a general emergency plan designed to be used for a wide range of different types of emergency situations, not just bushfire.
Get Prepared app
Get Prepared app helps you connect with your key support people, accomplish simple tasks to make you and your loved ones safer, and protect the things that matter to you most.
Build and keep your emergency plan close at hand with the Get Prepared app.
Survival kit checklist
Build your survival kit with the Australian Red Cross handy emergency checklist.
The Alert SA Mobile App provides timely, relevant bushfire information to the South Australian community. Tou can download the app from your app store. the link below explains how to set the app up correctly on your phone
Prescribed burns in your area can be worrying and without current up to date information, you may be anxious about the source of smoke particularly if you have previously experienced a bushfire.
To receive The Fire Side e-news, email updates on prescribed burns, the latest media releases and videos, subscribe with the link below.
Bushfire Resilience Inc.
Bushfire Resilience Inc. is a not-for-profit Incorporated Association whose purpose is to provide information about bushfire preparedness to the community. The members of BRI have personal experience of preparing for bushfire, fighting fires or defending their homes and rebuilding after bushfire.
Their 2021 webinar series provides information on a range of topics related to bushfire preparation.
Psychological preparation for bushfires
Traditionally much of the focus for bushfire planning has been on physical preparation such as getting you property ready, having important documents and having a plan for your animals.
Psychological preparation is equally important. Research shows that you are more likely to stick with a household plan if you have also prepared psychologically for a bushfire. Being able to manage your emotions in an emergency (that is, being psychologically prepared), can save your life and potentially the lives of others. This should involve all members of the household, including any children you might be caring for at the time.
There are a range of organisations that have useful resources to support psychological preparedness.
Australian Psychological Society
The Australian Psychological Society is an association for Australian Psychology professionals. Their website provides information on how to access psychologists and other useful resources and offers a range of resources to help Australians to prepare and recover from the threat of bushfire.
The following links will take you to some resources on how and why to be psychologically prepared for bushfire.
Readiness for children and young people
In this section you will find resources and links that will provide you with support, information and knowledge to help you and your child prepare for the bushfire season.
While children may find bushfires worrying, evidence suggests that involving them in the planning process can reduce their fears and concerns. Just like adults, children get worried or scared when they feel they have no control over a particular threat.
You may think that talking to children in your care about the potential threat of a disaster will scare or traumatise them. In fact, talking to children openly and honestly, and letting them know that you are prepared and have a plan, helps them to feel safer and more secure. It will also help them to deal with the impact of a disaster if it does happen.
Children can make positive contributions to bushfire survival plans. They are usually highly motivated to participate and may identify issues or problems that adults overlook. Involving children in your household planning process and giving them responsibilities that are age appropriate, will enable them to help when the need arises and provide them with some sense of control over the situation. This can also support the recovery process for children after the event.
Involving children will also ensure that they grow up understanding how to respond to bushfire emergencies, which is an essential life skill for anyone who lives, works, or travels in bushfire prone areas such as the Adelaide Hills.
Five steps to involve your children
The CFS suggest five simple steps to help get your kids involved. However, remember these need to be age appropriate for the children in your household.
Getting your kids to prepare a list of things that need to be done before leaving the house can be a simple way to get them involved. Things like closing doors and windows or moving combustible items away from around the house.
Teaching others can be a great way to ensure you understand a topic, so it can be a good idea to get an older child to explain the family's plan to younger siblings. Make sure you are present when this is happening to ensure its correct.
Helping to pack a pets' food and grab smaller animals so they're ready for transporting e.g., packing chickens in a box, or putting the cat in a cage, can be an easy and helpful way for kids to be involved in the planning.
Ask each child to identify the items that are most important to them, or irreplaceable, as part of the planning process. This will empower them by getting them to pack a box or pillowcase of items they'd like to take with them and acknowledges that they may have different ideas about what is important to them than we do.
Be open with children and include them in developing your household plan. Make sure you're keeping positive and monitor everyone's emotions during the conversations. Practicing your family plan as a group can be an important way to ensure everyone understanding.
Involve your kids in bushfire planning
The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC has produced an e-book for parents on how to talk to children about bushfire preparation and safety.
The book is designed as an interactive PDF which can be read on a computer or any tablet device. It can also be printed.
Videos for children to assist preparedness
Below are some videos of year 2 and 3 school students talking with the CFS about bushfire preparedness and what to do in an emergency. You may find them useful to assist conversations with children.
Year 2/3 students, Ella and Tandia spoke with the CFS Media Team to answer some questions on how to Be Bushfire Ready.
Year 2/3 students, Harry and Leila share their tips on how to Be Bushfire Ready.
Behind the News — Bushfire Survival Plan
Hear from Tom and Amy how they prepare for a bushfire in their home in the Adelaide Hills. Sarah from the CFS along with Behind the News by ABC have interviewed Tom and Amy about their active role in getting ready for a bushfire where the live. They share their involvement preparing their property, how they help their family and animals and their input within the bushfire survival plan process. You can watch this below.
Emerging Minds is an Australian organisation dedicated to advancing the mental health and emotional wellbeing of Australian infants, children, adolescents and their families.
Their Community Trauma Toolkit has a large number of resources to help parents and caregivers after a disaster or traumatic event.
Community Trauma Toolkit — Emerging Minds
How parents and caregivers can prepare for a natural disaster — Emerging Minds
Resources for Parents and Carers from the Community Trauma Toolkit — Emerging Minds
What parents and caregivers can expect during and immediately after a disaster or community trauma — Emerging Minds
What parents and caregivers can expect in the short term after a disaster or community trauma — Emerging Minds
How parents and caregivers can support children in the longer term following a disaster or community trauma — Emerging Minds
Video — Re-establishing routines and rules following a disaster or traumatic event
Video — The importance of story and play for young children following a natural disaster — Emerging Minds
Traumatic events: Anniversaries and other triggers factsheet — Emerging Minds
Australian Red Cross Danger Days App
Danger Days is a free, fast-paced app based game designed for teens and pre-teens to get ready for emergencies.
The Danger Days app helps teach skills to navigate difficult and dangerous situations.
Readiness for people at risk
In life we all experience differing levels of of vulnerability and resilience, however there are some people within our community that have differing abilities to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies.
Leaving early is always considered the safest plan. Research has shown that community members implementing a 'leaving early plan' greatly reduce the likelihood of serious injury or death. Leaving early means you avoid panic and the risk of becoming trapped by a bushfire.
The information below provides resources specifically for people who consider themselves to be at greater risk of injury or death in the event of a bushfire.
Country Fire Service (CFS) Easy English and other languages
The Country Fire Service (CFS) has designed a quick and easy three step plan to get you bushfire ready. It is simple to create and includes recommended information that you can include in your own plan.
The CFS have also developed information brochures on bushfire planning and preparedness in 19 different languages. The brochures are designed for those within the community where English is a second language.
The Bushfire Safety Information booklet is also available in easy English so they are user friendly and easy to understand.
Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness
Research has shown that for people with a disability, an emergency plan is most useful when created using a person-centred approach. That is where the person actively participates in planning and decision-making processes.
Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (P-CEP) enables people to self-asses their preparedness, capabilities and support and develop a personal emergency plan.
Identifying strengths and support networks will aid in successfully managing bushfire preparedness and help build confidence that the plan is relevant to the person.
CFA fire safety e-learning modules for people at higher risk
The CFA also have a range of online modules which are available for people who work, travel or care for people in high risk bushfire areas. These modules are designed to operate through the Google Chrome browser on a laptop or PC, not for tablets or smartphones.
To access these modules you will need to create a CFA account. Simply click the link below and follow the prompts on the Non-CFA Member login tab.
The video below shows how the online modules helped Rebekah and her daughter. Rebekah cared for her teenage daughter who lives with a chronic neurological disorder.
Readiness for your business
Your business is the basis of your financial security and the future security of your family. It may also play a valuable role in your community employing local people and providing essential services.
If a bushfire starts near your business, you and your employees may be under pressure to ensure the safety of yourselves and others.
A written plan may save lives by helping you to stay focused and respond in the best possible way when under pressure. Preparation may also help to minimise the loss of profits and get a business back up and running more quickly after the threat of fire has passed.
Government of South Australia
Your business is critical to your financial wellbeing, so you’ll want to take steps to protect it as much as you can against emergencies and disasters. Emergency management planning will help you identify risks to your business, the critical areas of your business and how to best protect them. It also covers continuity and recovery planning to help your business prepare for and survive any emergency.
You should regularly review your emergency management and recovery plan to ensure it’s up to date, reflects your current business conditions and gives you the best foundation for action in the event of an emergency.
business.gov.au is an online information hub provided by the Australian Government. This is where you will find information on what support is being offered to Australian business, including any associated grant programs. This website has a number of tools that can support you to firstly prepare and then recover from a disaster.
Find out what to do in an emergency, how to keep up-to-date, and how to get help.
The following case studies are practical and real life testimonies from business owners as to why you should have a solid plan for your business and some useful tips.
Readiness for farmers
The South Australian Government Department of Primary Industries and Regions has a number of resources available on their website to help prepare for a bushfire and reduce your risk.
They have specific resources for primary producers working in the grains, wine and horticulture, and livestock sectors.
PIRSA also offer resources to assist with managing animals in emergencies and provide guidance on the key issues to consider when planning for animals in emergencies, animal owner responsibilities and the help and services available.
Some of the resources listed in the Readiness for your Business section may also be helpful for farmers.
CFS also have resources specifically for farm fire safety.
The ifarmwell online bushfire module has been designed with Australian farmers to help other Australian farmers and their supporters to process and manage the impact of major farm fires on their wellbeing, and to prepare both psychologically and practically, in case they may experience them again.
It provides access to information to help you understand the impact of bushfires on the way farmers think and behave and equip you with practical tools to manage their consequences.
Horse owners and livestock
Horse SA provides information and resources to horse owners including how to prepare a plan to manage your horses in the event of a disaster.
The CFS website also contains useful resources on how to plan for the management of pets and livestock as part of your bushfire preparedness.
Readiness for pets
The care and transport of pets and livestock before, during and after a fire is something that should be considered in bushfire planning and practice, to ensure they are managed well in an event.
The CFS website contains useful resources on how to plan for the management of pets and livestock as part of your bushfire preparedness.
The RSPCA provides a number of useful resources including a video that may be useful to help children understand how they can be involved in planning for their pets. The RSPCA's three essential steps to creating your Pet Emergency Plan are:
- Include pets in your emergency survival plan
- Prepare your Pet Emergency Kit
- Practice your emergency survival plan.
Readiness for your property
Keeping your home and property well prepared throughout the year is an essential component of bushfire preparedness. A well prepared home is more likely to survive a bushfire. A well prepared home can also be easier for firefighters to defend and is more likely to survive even if you're not there. A well prepared home is less likely to put your neighbours' homes at risk and will give you more protection if a fire threatens suddenly and you cannot leave and have to take shelter.
Preparing your garden
As well as preparing your house and outbuildings, home gardens can be planned and managed to decrease the risk of bushfires, through selection of lower flammability plants, thoughtful garden design and an understanding of fire behaviour.
Gardening can also be a great way to involve children in your household's bushfire preparedness activities and to share the benefits of spending time together in nature.