No matter where you live, whether in a city, country town or on a farm, EVERYONE should have a fire plan.
Everyone’s fire plan is going to be different. But it’s important to know what to do in the event that your home/property/township is under threat of a bushfire.
Always think of the worst case scenario, because if you are prepared for the worst you’ll know what to do in the event that that worst case happens. This includes if you go away on holidays.
For some people they don’t want to take any risks, so if this is you, then your best case is to leave early.
What this means is moving away from a high-risk area before there are any signs of a fire.
Fires can start and spread extremely quickly under intense weather conditions. If you are in a high risk area the safest option for you is to leave.
When you decide to leave is up to, but it will be one of the most important decisions you can make.
Your home can be replaced, lives can not.
Leaving Early – On Fire Risk Days
Check the Fire Danger Rating every day in your location. Activate your plan when it reaches your trigger point.
When you are ready consider the following:
- Stay updated on fire information
- Move livestock/pets to a safe area.
- Pack your emergency kit.
- Pack your important documents.
- Pack a change of (appropriate) clothing.
- Pack personal items for each person and load them into your car.
- Park your car facing forward (nose to the road), in your driveway, or out on the side of the road.
- Remove any materials that could bury easily from around your home.
- Turn off the gas supply
- Block your downpipes, and partially fill the gutters of your home, only if time permits.
- Tell people you are leaving and where you are going.
- Close all doors and windows.
During a Fire – If you Cannot Leave
This is your worst-case scenario. As part of your plan, you will need to decide what to do if there is a fire in your area and you can not leave.
- Know your shelter options
- Understand radiant heat
- Cover up
If you live in Victoria I strongly recommend you get the CFA fire-ready kit, which is available on their website. It’s a free and comprehensive guide that will give you many tools to implement your fire ready plan.
if you live in another state or country still have a look at their guide and modify it to suit your needs. Or check out your state/territory to see if they have something similar.
Do you have a smartphone? Then get the fire ready app (for Victoria only, check your state for the equivalent)
If you don’t have a smartphone, then you can view it on the web here.
Once you have your Fire Ready action plan, make sure everyone in the household knows what to do. For example, do your kids know what to do in an emergency? Do they know how to ring 000?
My kids totally love this app:
Get for it on Android and iPhone.
It has taught them exactly what to do and say in the event of an emergency.
Once you have got your Fire Plan in place, make a copy of it, and store it online, in your email, or dropbox or google drive.
So now that you have your fire plan in place, what else?
Make sure all your insurance details are up to date. Are you underinsured? I’m telling you now, you most likely have your contents underinsured. To give you an idea of your contents, if you were to tip your house upside down, everything that falls out is considered contents. You don’t buy everything at once, you buy stuff over time, and well it all adds up.
Every year, go around your house and just take random photos of your house, which includes opening up cupboards and drawing, and photographing what’s in them. Upload those images to your email/dropbox/drive. In the unlikely event that your house becomes a total loss, it will not only help you but will help the insurance company replace your items faster.
Back up all your photos, if you can online, if not, on USB sticks, and give them to family members. Better to have photos scattered all over the place, that way you won’t lose all your treasured memories.
I hope this blog post has been of some help to you, and if it’s got you thinking, even better.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
1 – By appropriate I mean, a long sleeve shirt and pants, a hat, & close-toed shoes like runners or boots. Cotton drill or wool is best. Do not wear synthetic fibers like nylon.
2 – Your emergency kit may include the following:
- Medication & Prescriptions
- Mobile phone & charger
- Food & Water for everyone