Bushfires are a reality for Australian homeowners, albeit an unpleasant one. Victoria is known as one of the most dangerous regions in the world for bushfires – and in very recent history the 7th of February 2009 was Australia’s all-time worst bushfire disaster. The fires occurred during extreme bushfire-weather conditions and resulted in Australia’s highest ever loss of life from a bushfire; 173 people died and 414 were injured as a result of the fires.
As many as 400 individual fires were recorded on 7 February and in its aftermath that day has become widely referred to as Black Saturday. A Royal Commission followed resulting in many changes to emergency services operating procedures and building regulations.
When bushfires strike, is your home prepared? Though you can’t control the environment, sufficient preparedness before fires break out can make a very real difference. When bushfires threaten, you can minimize the threat to your property, home and family by ensuring you’re ‘bushfire ready’.
Are You Prepared for a Bushfire?
For most people, preparedness for potential disaster situations is something easily put off for another day. After all, no one likes to seriously consider their personal vulnerability to conditions and events outside of their control. Unfortunately, a bushfire is the last thing you want to be caught for unprepared. You want to keep your home safe, and in the event you are unable to leave, it’s absolutely vital to protect your family. For basic protection against bushfires, put these items on your to-do list:
- Evaluate your home and contents insurance policy. Is your coverage sufficient and up-to-date?
- Clear debris, especially leaves and twigs, from your gutters.
- Post a Static Water Supply sign at the entrance of your property if you have a water tank, swimming pool or dam to indicate the presence of water to firefighters
- Have metal gutter guards installed
- Ensure water hoses are long enough for you to reach all the way around your home
- Inspect your roof for any missing or broken tiles, and replace them promptly
- Trim trees or shrubs with branches overhanging buildings on your property
- Regularly clear any tree debris from around your property
- Fit all doors and windows with fine mesh screens
- Eliminate gaps around doors and windows with seals
- Avoid letting grass and garden areas grow excessively
- Make sure all open spaces under your house and external wall gaps are closed
Further Protection against Bushfires
When it comes to bushfires, being prepared is your best line of defence. When your property is protected, you are better prepared to watch for spot fires and embers so you can deal with them quickly. Remember, you should never stand on your roof to put out fires with your garden hose. Though this may give you a better vantage point, you’re far more likely, on a statistical basis, to be injured due to a fall from the roof than a burn.
To ensure your property is bushfire ready, you can work with an experienced professional building inspector who knows what to look for in terms of preparedness. With the help of a qualified building inspection company, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with being bushfire ready.
You don’t necessarily have to live in the country to need a Bushfire Plan. Anyone who lives near bush, forest, grasslands or coastal scrub may require a Bushfire Plan. There is very little we can do about our harsh summer climate, however there is plenty we can do to ensure our homes are safe this bushfire season. The Country Fire Authority (CFA) has information and advice to help everyone prepare for bushfire or grassfire.
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