With the bushfire season upon us, here are some tips for preparing for bushfire emergencies and state-by-state contacts for emergency information.
With the bushfire season upon us, fire authorities are urging families to stay safe and prepare in advance in case of a bushfire emergency.
SBS recommends that all residents living in or near bushfire-prone areas should contact their local and state authorities for more detailed advice on how to prepare for the bushfire season. This is a summary only with links to the appropriate websites for more information.
How to prepare for a bushfire
Here are some general tips to prepare for the bushfire season based on various state fire rescue services:
• If you live in a region prone to bushfires, stay on top of the latest fire alerts via the radio, your local fire service website, or on social media (see below).
• Prepare a Bushfire Survival Plan now, if you haven't done so already. Make sure your family understands the Plan and knows what to do and where to go during an emergency.
• Locate your nearby Neighbourhood Safer Place (NSP). This is a new concept that came about after the tragic 'Black Saturday' bushfires in Victoria in 2009. An NSP is a building or community space that can offer a higher level of protection during a fire. It is the last resort for people in a bushfire emergency and should be part of all Bushfire Survival Plans.
• Display a prominent house number so fire rescue workers can identity your house in case of an emergency.
• Build a protection zone (at least a 20 metre radius) around your property from a non-flammable wall or fence to slow down the fire's speed.
• Minimise the fire traps. Move fuel containers, BBQ gas bottles, woodpiles and rubbish away from your house. Prune branches from overhanging trees. Mow your grass regularly, and clear your roof and gutters of dried leaves, twigs and branches.
• Make sure there's a reliable alternative supply of power and water (e.g. a water tank). And remember to keep these systems well-maintained.
• Pack an emergency relocation kit in case you and your family need to evacuate your area.
Each state has its respective bushfire safety recommendations, so please refer to state fire service websites for further information (see below).
Alert updates and contact information
• If you are in a life-threatening emergency situation, always dial 000
• Call 132 500 for SES assistance
For general fire safety information, contact details and the latest alert updates, please click on the relevant links within your state:
Australian Capital Territory
Bushfire safety information: http://esa.act.gov.au/community-information/bushfires/
Contact: (02) 6205 0400
Bushfire safety information: https://www.fire.qld.gov.au or www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au (QLD Rural Fire Service)
Contact: 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or 07 3635 3834 (QLD Rural Fire Service)
Alerts: http://www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/map.html (QLD Rural Fire Service)
New South Wales
Bushfire safety information: http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/
Contact: 1800 NSW RFS (1800 679 737)
Bushfire safety information: www.cfa.vic.gov.au
Contact: 1800 240 667
Bushfire safety information: http://www.mfs.sa.gov.au/site/home.jsp#
Contact: 08 8204 3600 or 1300 737 637 (Toll free for country callers)
Alerts: http://www.mfs.sa.gov.au/site/community_safety/emergency_alert.jsp (Metro)
Bushfire safety information: http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/pages/default.aspx
Contact: 1300 657 209
Bushfire safety information: http://www.fire.tas.gov.au/Show?pageId=colHome
Contact: 03 6230 8600
Bushfire safety information: http://www.pfes.nt.gov.au/
Contact: 08 8999 3473