A bushfire is a type of wildfire that’s intrinsic to Australia’s environment. They occur regularly, especially during the warmer months of the year. In fact, they’re such a part of Australia’s ecology that some plants have even evolved to rely on bushfires for reproduction.
Because bushfires can’t be avoided, it’s important to be completely prepared for them, especially if you’re staying to defend your home. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at some essential tips on bushfire preparation to best prepare yourself and your property:
Be Mentally Prepared First
A lot of people experience stress during the bushfire season. This is because the threat of fire puts you in a heightened state that lets you respond to danger more effectively. Being in this state for prolonged periods, however, can take a toll on your mind and body.
To help you deal with the anxiety and stress, prepare a Bushfire Survival Plan. When developing the plan, consider the following:
- Make sure it suits your household.
- Discuss the plan with all the family members and make sure they know the risks involved with staying to defend the home (if you choose to do so).
- Realistically assess the ability of each member to deal with the stress of a bushfire.
Also, make sure to know proper first aid and where to get medical attention in case of emergencies. You can get proper first aid training from a Brisbane organisation so that you are more prepared for natural disasters.
Preparing Your Home
People should ready their property before the bushfire season arrives. To protect your home against bushfires, you should:
- Rake up any fallen leaves, bark, and twigs.
- Clear space around the house that may easily catch fire.
- Remove undergrowth.
- Fill any cracks or gaps around windows, door frames, etc.
- Make sure there’s clear access to your property for fire trucks.
- Keep shovels, metal buckets, and ladders at hand to help put out nearby fires.
- Keep valuables and important documents in a fire-resistant safe or get them out of the property.
- Avoid dumping garden waste and other flammable materials in nearby bushland areas.
- Use metal (NOT plastic) screens around your doors and windows.
- Wet down the gardens and timber decks close to the house once you know the fire is approaching.
- Have good access to water around the house (e.g. swimming pools or water tanks).
- Remove doormats that are flammable.
- Point LPG safety valves away from the house.
- Trim away low-lying branches two metres from the ground around your house.
- Clean out gutters, roof valleys, and decks.
- Check if the vegetation around the house is protected under the Natural Assets Local Law (NALL). If they’re not, remove them.
It’s good to do regular maintenance on your home such as applying a more suitable coat of paint, doing general clean-ups, or making roof repairs. Also, avoid placing garden beds or any other vegetation close to your house. Before you decide to remove trees, check if they’re protected.
Preparing Your Children
Children must also be taught the dangers of wildfires. As much as you want to keep them close, it’s strongly advised that kids and vulnerable people are kept well away from danger zones. Even if they appear to cope well in a crisis, they may show a different reaction when the bushfire comes. Remember that children are more vulnerable to stress, so communicate with them in a reassuring and positive way.
Preparation isn’t just about cleaning up around the home and having a plan. It’s also about ensuring you and everyone in the household is physically, emotionally, and mentally prepared. Although bushfires can be terrifying situations, do your best to remain calm. In this way, you can better help yourself and other people deal with the fire better.