Managing bushfire risk to your home and family means being prepared. Experts advise that people who live in bushfire-prone areas need a plan for an emergency.
Fire authorities around the country are preparing for bushfire season.
Captain Phill Townsend is a volunteer with the Country Fire Authority, CFA, at Keysborough Fire Brigade in Victoria.
He says you should start your preparation with a simple check.
A well-prepared property has a better chance to survive a bushfire or ember attack.
There are some basic maintenance tips to prepare your property:
- Clean your gutters of leaves and twigs
- Repair the damage you can on and around the property
- Attach a fire sprinkler system to gutters
- Keep lawns short and gardens well maintained
- Have hoses long enough to reach around your house
CFA’s Captain Phill Townsend also stresses the importance of having an evacuation plan if you live in bushfire affected areas.
Have an evacuation plan and make sure that everyone in the household knows your evacuation plan, practice it if you have to.
He says fire authorities in each state and territories offer a proposed evacuation plan on their websites.
It tells you actions leading up to the bushfires, actions during the bushfire season, actions leading up to fire risk days, and actions on the fire risk days.
Having a ready emergency survival kit means having easy access to things that can help you if you need to leave quickly.
Keep your kit in a waterproof bag in a location that is easy to get to and that the whole family knows about.
Your emergency survival kit might include:
- First aid kit with manual
- Important documents, valuables and photos
- Cash, ATM cards, credit cards
- Mobile phone and charger
- Medications and special requirements
If you are asked to leave, Captain Phil Townsend says follow the advice.
We don’t do that as something we like to do, we do that because your house, and your property and your life is in danger. So, if someone comes and knocks your door, take it for what it is and leave early.
Bush Fire Danger Ratings
In Australia, bush fire danger ratings are issued during the bush fire season.
On the days when the consequences of a fire might be very high to extreme, a state’s fire commissioner may declare a Total Fire Ban day.
On those days no fire can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
If the weather is very hot, dry and windy, a spark from campfires, cooking fires or cigarette butts can quickly spread and cause damage.
Bureau of Meteorology fire weather expert, Claire Yeo, explains how Fire Danger Ratings are calculated.
The Fire Danger Ratings are based on forecast of temperature, moisture components, wind speed and also the presence of forest or grassland fuel, So, it’s a dryness measure.
How to attend to burns
Hana Menezes is a nurse at Victorian Adult Burns Service.
She says burn injuries are the most common among men, aged 15 to 35, caused by flammable liquid being added to the barbecue.
Often, people like to put accelerant on barbecues to get them, sort of, go quicker, so, we see quite a lot of barbecue related incidents.
Hana Menezes says if you or someone you know gets burnt you should first remove clothing and jewellery, then apply cool running water to the burn for at least 20 minutes.
20 minutes of cool running water is the gold standard and it’s the most efficient way of removing the heat from the tissue, not ice-cold water.
Hana Menezes says it’s the most efficient way of removing heat from the tissue and adds that having first aid knowledge is invaluable when treating burns.
I see burn injuries every day and I see the difference between those who that do good first aid and those that don’t, so I think it’s imperative to understand first aid if you are going out camping.
Visit your local rural service website for more information on preparing properties for bushfires.
For more information on burns and their assessment visit vic.burns.org.au
For language support, call the national translating and interpreting service on 13 14 50 and ask for your designated agency.
For up-to-date information about emergencies from around Australia, along with advice to protect you and your property go to ABC Emergency.