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How to Prepare for a Bushfire: The Ultimate Survival Guide

Bushfires are simply a part of life in Australia. Even if your home isn’t directly in or next-to the bush, you may be at risk. Although a bushfire can happen at any time of the year, the risk is obviously significantly higher during the warmer months and, for this summer, we’ve been given a clear warning by the Bureau of Meteorology – get ready.

It’s important to know how to prepare for a bushfire, regardless of where you live in Australia. Following these four simple steps will help you and your home stand a better chance of surviving a bushfire.

1. Conduct a bushfire risk assessment

The first step of bushfire preparation is to know your risk. Is your home in close proximity to bushes or grasslands? Do you live in bushfire prone land? You can check for bushfire prone areas on your local council website. If you live in New South Wales, use this bushfire prone land mapping tool.

2. Create a bushfire survival plan

As a family, discuss what to do if there’s a threat of bushfire. It’s always safest to leave early, however, if you feel you’re well prepared you may make the decision to stay. The NSW Rural Fire Service released this bushfire discussion guide to help you plan ahead. Regardless of your household decision, there are simple things you can do around your home to prepare it for a bushfire. For example;

  • Keeping your grass low
  • Clearing your gutters of dried leaves and twigs
  • Raking and hoeing surface debris around your home
  • Repairing damaged or missing tiles on your roof
  • Maintaining your garden by shearing and weeding
  • Covering the areas under the house
  • Having hoses long enough to reach around your house
  • Purchasing home and contents insurance

If you choose to stay, tools such as fire swatters, McLeod Tools (otherwise known as Rake Hoes) and axes can help you smother and direct flames or pry apart tough materials.

3. Monitor bushfire alerts

If there is a bushfire near you, or you smell smoke and are unsure where it’s coming from, check your government’s website for fire warnings. You’ll also see an alert in the ‘Fires Near Me’ app. There are four fire danger ratings: moderate, high, extreme and catastrophic. Regardless of the alert level, ensure you are prepared. Wind is also a major factor affecting the spread and direction of a bushfire. Tools such as weather meters help you monitor the rate of spread and are useful in your decision to leave or stay.

4. Create a bushfire emergency kit

The NSW Rural Fire Service strongly recommends that you document the phone numbers, websites, apps, radio stations, television stations and social media pages relevant to your local area. In the event of a bushfire, you could lose power, so do not rely on one source of information.

Being prepared, knowing your risk and creating a bushfire management plan will help you and your home stand a better chance of surviving a bushfire. For more information, visit the NSW Rural Fire Service website. If you need any tools for the management and control of bushfires, we provide Pulaski axes, McLeod tools, fire rakes, fire swatters and remote firefighting kits. Explore our Bushfire Control Tools today.