Taking steps to get prepared before the fire season means you know what to do when you’re at risk . It’s important to prepare your property for fire, but you also need to plan and prepare for your safety. Pack important documents, photos, medications, money and clothes so you can leave easily before a fire starts.
Understand your risk and plan ahead. Know what to do on hot, dry, windy days and plan for all situations. Talk to your family and friends about how you’ll know when to leave, where you’ll go and how you’ll get there. Do you have family, friends or neighbours who may need help preparing for fires? Talk to them about when they will leave, where they will go and how you can help.
Have a plan, make sure your family knows it, and stick to it, don’t hesitate when it’s time to leave. You could get trapped by fire if you leave too late. Plan for all scenarios – what will you do if your car won’t start, the wind changes direction, roads are blocked, someone is hurt or people aren’t where you expect them to be? When planning with kids, make sure you know your local school policy for fire risk days. Some schools close on Code Red days, it’s important to know so you can plan for all situations.
You could be at serious risk of uncontrollable fires on Severe, Extreme and Code Red days. It’s up to each of us to stay informed. Check the Fire Danger Ratings daily and act to protect yourself and
Prevention is everyone’s responsibility. Early action can prevent fires threatening lives and property. If you see smoke or fire, call Triple Zero (‘000’) immediately. If you see something suspicious, call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Preparing your property means you minimise the chance of property damage during a fire, even if you plan to leave early. Keep trees, overhanging branches and shrubs to a minimum near your home, particularly around and under windows. A big clean up before the fire season can make a huge difference to the safety and survival of your home in a bushfire. Embers are one of the most common causes of homes burning down during a bushfire, even if the fire front doesn’t reach the property. Check where leaves and twigs gather around your home as this is where embers are likely to fall. Keep these areas clear all summer.
Before you leave, make sure you remove all flammable items from around your home. Houses have been lost from things as simple as embers landing on a doormat. Keep leaf litter, shrubs and any other fuels to a minimum under trees on your property. This will help to stop a fire from reaching the tree tops, which will reduce embers and the fire intensity near your home.
Defending your home requires at least two fit adults, at least 10,000 litres of water, protective clothing, and appropriate firefighting hoses and pumps. Most homes in high risk bushfire areas are
not defendable on Code Red days. Defending your home is very risky – you could lose your life or be seriously injured.
For information on how to stay safe this summer, visit emergency.vic.gov.au or ring the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.
Check that your home and contents insurance is current and includes a level of cover in line with current building standards and regulations. Changes in those building standards and regulations
mean that replacement homes must be built to better withstand natural disasters, which can add to the cost of rebuilding.