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Being bushfire ready for a long hot summer

15 October 2015

By all reports Victoria is looking ahead to a long hot summer, and a very real threat of a hazardous bushfire season.

Previous hot, dry fire seasons have shown us how potentially devastating bush fires can be – both in terms of lives lost and lives that have to be rebuilt through the loss or severe damage to property and belongings.

And previous seasons have also shown us that bushfires do not just affect those living in rural areas – cities and suburbs are not immune.

With that in mind, it doesn’t matter if you live in the city, suburbs or country – if your home is even remotely at risk from bushfire it is essential that you have spent some time preparing your property by reducing flammable matter from around the perimeter of your home, but also have a bushfire survival plan.

Being savvy and preparing your home

  • You should always consider the placement of garden beds, trees and other flammable materials around your home when landscaping. Be sure to choose plants that are less likely to catch fire than others close to your home.

  • Make sure you create a space around your home that is defendable and be sure to remove other flammable objects from around the property. This includes flammable liquids, gas bottles, barbeques etc.

  • Ensure your gutters and roof are clean and clear from debris from trees and plants that can easily catch fire in an ember attack. Install metal leaf guards to prevent future build-up of leaves and sticks.

  • Don’t allow rubbish to collect on your property and keep piles of firewood covered and away from your home.

  • Prune trees and shrubs that are close to or overhanging your home and keep lawns and grass cut short.

  • Be sure to have hoses at various points around the perimeter of your home and on your roof, and ensure that you have enough water available for a long haul – you may need to consider installing a portable pump.

Having a bushfire survival plan

If you live in a home that is in an area that has a history of bushfires or are within a few blocks of bushland, you need to have a bushfire survival plan.

This includes thinking about emergency exit strategies to leave your home in the event of a bushfire and considering the best routes away from the property. Don’t forget that in the event of an emergency some roads may be closed or blocked.

The CFA offers guides and kits to help you create your bushfire survival plan, and takes you through the basics of preparing for the fire season, right through to planning what to do if fire is in your area and you are unable to leave.

Be sure to update your plan annually, and stay in touch with neighbours. And don’t forget to include pets and livestock in your plan, and make sure that visitors to your home know what you have in place in the event of a bushfire.

More information about being bushfire ready is available from the CFA website.