December 30, 2016

Bushfires are natural so plan for them

We are the intruders on this land and fire, flood and all the climate elements nature can throw at us are there because the land needs them, not humans. Annoying, isn’t it!

However, with some intelligence, you can plan for a bushfire, and lately, there has been plenty in the press.  We certainly don’t want another Black Saturday in Australia!  (or any other Black day of the week).  Bushfire season is ALWAYS around – 12 months of the year at the moment so complacency is not an option.

Victorian bushfire

Here’s what you MUST do whether you are in a designated fire zone or not.

This is from the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria.

Make a Bushfire Plan

All people who live in a high bushfire risk area need to develop a Bushfire Survival Plan. A Bushfire Survival Plan is a well thought out plan about how you will prepare and respond to a fire in your area.

A plan should include a set of actions to address the risk and will require you to make a series of decisions about what you will do on a high fire risk day, or should a fire threaten your home.

People should develop a written plan that identifies all the actions they will undertake on high fire risk days. You are more likely to remember to do some of the things you have identified as being important if you write them down.

To develop your plan you need to consider all the issues about your level of risk, actions you will undertake to prepare yourself and your home for bushfire and what you will do on high fire risk days.

Even if your decision is to leave the area before fire threatens, you still need a well thought out plan.

Everyone’s circumstances are different so it is important that you develop a plan that suits your household.

Bushfire Safety

You can get a workbook from the dse website.

Make sure all members of your household know what the plan is and know what roles and responsibilities they have. And as circumstances change, it is important that you review your Bushfire Survival Plan before each summer fire season.

The first decision must be what trigger you will use to implement your plan. Ask yourself
“On which days should I be ready to implement my plan?”

People should implement their plan each Total Fire Ban Day or on other high fire risk days when temperatures rise, the humidity is low and there are strong northerly winds.

You should decide well before summer whether you intend to leave your home on high fire risk days or stay and defend your property should a fire threaten your area.

Your first decision is leave or stay – will you:

  • Stay and actively defend, or
  • Leave early

If your decision is to leave early, your plan needs to include:

  • When you will leave
  • Where you will go
  • How you will get there
  • What you will take with you
  • What you will do with your pets
  • Who you have told about your plan

If your decision is to stay and defend your property, your plan needs to include:

  • Where you and other family members will be
  • What you will do if your children are at school when the fire starts
  • Who will look after your pets
  • What you will do if you have elderly relatives or young children living with you
  • How you will protect your property
  • How you will protect yourself
  • How you will know what is going on during the fire
  • What you will do to patrol your property after the fire front has passed through

A well thought out bushfire plan should address all these issues.
Make sure everyone in the household knows the plan and what their roles are. And remember: stick to your plan!

Everyone in Australia knows someone or of someone who was affected by the last round of fires in Victoria.    Queensland is going through this trauma now.  Don’t be a dill about this!  Get out and clear up your house and be ready.  Hobart in the 1960s had fire right in the centre of the town so it is not just rural areas that are at risk.

See Below for more information in relation to the state you live in:

QUEENSLAND:

Queensland Fire and Rescue Services – http://www.fire.qld.gov.au/
Online Fire Escape Planner – http://www.ody.com.au/evac/
Rural Fire Service Queensland – http://www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/RFS/
Rural Fire Brigades Queensland – http://www.rfbaq.org/

NSW:
NSW Fire Brigades – http://www.nswfb.nsw.gov.au/
NSW Rural Fire Service – http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/

VICTORIA:
Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board – http://www.mfb.vic.gov.au/
CFA Victoria – http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/

SOUTH AUSTRALIA:
South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service – http://www.mfs.sa.gov.au
South Australian Country Fire Service – http://www.cfs.sa.gov.au/

ACT:
ACT Fire Brigade – http://www.firebrigade.act.gov.au

NORTHERN TERRITORY:
Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services – http://www.nt.gov.au/pfes/
NT Bush Fire Council – http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/natres/bushfires/index.html

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:
Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia – http://www.fesa.wa.gov.au/

TASMANIA:
Tasmania Fire Service – http://www.fire.tas.gov.au/

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