By James Gratton
Published: Thursday, November 5, 2020
Do you live in a bushfire danger zone? Have you prepared your property? Here are some simple measures you can put in place before it’s too late.
Last summer, fires destroyed almost 200 homes across the Adelaide Hills and on Kangaroo Island.
But even after one of the worst bushfire seasons in recent memory, more than 1 in 3 Australians have done nothing to get ready for this summer, according to the Red Cross.
With bushfire season now upon us, we spoke to the Country Fire Service (CFS) about what you can do to protect your home and community.
If you haven’t already, you should sit down with your family and create a bushfire plan.
In only 5 minutes, you can complete a simple questionnaire and create a personalised plan at cfs.sa.gov.au.
“By doing a 5-minute bushfire plan, people can think about whether, if faced with a dangerous bushfire, they will leave early or stay and defend their home,” said CFS Director of Preparedness Brett Loughlin.
“It’s so important to talk to your family and friends about your plan, and know where you will go and how to get there.”
There are also plenty of jobs you can do around your property during the year to prepare for bushfire season.
It might sound obvious but trimming overhanging trees and shrubs can go a long way towards protecting your home.
Maintaining a cleared area of 20m around built structures can reduce the risk of a fire jumping to your home, garage or shed.
Removing debris and leaves from your gutters is also a must do because burning embers can easily fall into them during a bushfire, causing small spot-fires well before the main fire front arrives.
Even removing highly flammable household objects such as door mats, wood piles, mulch and leaves can help protect your home during a bushfire.
While many people will make the decision to leave their property, others will choose to stay and fight the blaze.
“If you are going to stay and defend your property, you need to be well prepared with [your] gutters cleared, vegetation well-maintained and a robust plan,” said Mr Loughlin.
“Everyone has a responsibility when it comes to bushfires, [as] there will not be a fire truck at every house.”
If you decide to defend your property, make sure you have the right equipment and resources.
Ideally, you should have an independent water supply of at least 5000L, such as a tank, dam or swimming pool on your property.
It’s also essential to have your own generator or water pump, as mains water and electricity can be cut off during a bushfire.
In emergency situations, CFS crews may also use these water supplies to top up the depleted tanks in their fire trucks.
You’ll need a sturdy hose that can easily reach around your house if you live in a bushfire-affected area.
Other ways to protect your home
- Replace wood fences with metal fences.
- Use stones or rocks instead of mulch in garden beds.
- Block up areas where embers can enter the house.
- Install a home bushfire sprinkler system that directs water over the roof, windows and doors.
For more information about how to get ready for summer and find out if you’re in a bushfire danger zone, visit the CFS website at cfs.sa.gov.au.