Develop a bush fire survival plan

This article is from ABC

  • Fire agencies recommend that you develop a written bushfire survival plan and discuss this with your family.
  • Know the fire danger ratings and what they mean. Use them as your trigger to stay or leave the area.
  • Don’t wait and see. It is extremely dangerous to leave after there are signs of fire in your area. Come up with a plan to decide when to leave, where you will go and how you will get there.
  • Consider moving children, the elderly and people with illness or disability, as well as animals, away from danger as early as possible.
  • If you live in or intend to travel to a high-risk bushfire area, know the location of the nearest bushfire safer place, meeting point or evacuation centre and how to get there.
  • Check the frequency of the nearest ABC Radio station using our frequency finder and/or check ABC Emergency on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date with conditions.
  • Always notify your family and friends of your plans and intensions to stay or go.
  • Make sure your bushfire survival kit is ready and you know of its location.

If you decided to leave your home, make sure you:

  • Close doors and windows, fill sinks with water and move outdoor furniture away from the house.
  • Pack food, water and your survival kit in your car, adding any final items.
  • Turn off mains gas supply.
  • Take your list of contacts in order to inform them of your departure and destination.
  • Develop a back-up plan, including where you will shelter if you have not left early and it is unsafe to leave. This is a dangerous situation and you must know where you will seek shelter from radiant heat.
  • Establish the location and route to your closest Neighbourhood Safer Place (NSP). NSPs are places of last resort. They may save your life but they do not guarantee safety.
  • If you are able, identify several exits to ensure you can leave safely if your planned route is blocked.
  • Make sure you are wearing protective clothing to shield you from deadly radiant heat.

If you decide to stay and defend your home:

  • Fire agencies say defending your home requires at least two able-bodied, fit and determined adults.
  • Both adults need to be sure they’re physically and mentally prepared to work in difficult conditions.
  • Homes in an area with a Code Red or Catastrophic fire danger rating are difficult to defend, even if well prepared.
  • Ensure your home is prepared by following a guide like this prepared by the Rural Fire Service in New South Wales. You should ring your state’s fire authority and ask for an assessment or advice.
  • It is recommended that you have 10,000 litres of water for firefighting purposes as well as a firefighting pump and hoses.
  • Other equipment needed includes a water sprayer, bucket, mop, shovel, torch and battery-powered radio.
  • Ensure you have adequate protective clothing as outlined in the survival kit. Radiant heat is the biggest killer in a fire.

If you are travelling:

  • Find out what bushfire safety plans are in place in the area where you are camping, caravanning or renting accommodation.
  • Know the most up-to-date fire danger rating in the area via your ABC Local Radio station, on Twitter and Facebook, or checking with the local fire agency.
  • Find the nearest Neighbourhood Safer Place when you are staying in a high-risk fire area and know alternative routes to leave your destination.
  • Plan activities carefully on hot, dry and windy days. Contact the visitor information centres for safe tourist activities and locations.
  • Pack your own emergency survival kit and have it accessible at all times.