Preparing your home for a bushfire

bushfireYou should prepare your home to survive a bushfire, even if your plan is to leave. A well prepared and constructed house is more likely to survive a bushfire than an unprepared one. Firefighters may not be able to defend a poorly prepared property, their lives are at risk too.

Walk around your property and imagine a bushfire is coming. Look for items likely to burn or places where embers could start a fire, for example embers can enter through gaps in roofs, walls, evaporative air conditioners and gutters. Remember to install a stainless steel open weave mesh cover over your evaporative air conditioner and metal fly screens on your windows and vents to keep sparks and embers out.

Clear vegetation and rubbish from around your property and create a 20 metre circle of safety (building protection zone), to reduce the risk that burning vegetation will spark your house alight.
When the Fire Danger Rating (FDR) is catastrophic in your area it means these are the worst conditions for a bush or grass fire. If a fire starts and takes hold, it will be very difficult to control and will take significant firefighting resources and cooler conditions to bring it under control.

Homes are not designed or constructed to survive fires in these conditions. If this weather is expected you should leave the night before or early in the day, this is the best option for your survival.

Before bushfire season

  • Ensure your house number is clearly displayed (for emergency service crews)
    Mow your lawn regularly
    Remove excess combustible material (e.g. dry grass, dead leaves and branches) from your yard
    Move any flammable items such as wood piles, paper, boxes, crates and garden furniture well away from the house
    Trim low-lying branches (those under 2m in height)
    Keep gutters clear of leaf litter
    Buy and test gutter plugs
    Enclose open areas under decks and verandas
    Install fine steel wire mesh screens on all windows and doors
    Make sure any LPG cylinders are upright and relief valves are pointed away from the house
    Check that pumps, generators and water systems are working
    Replace any damaged roofing and seal any gaps
    Check that your first-aid kit is fully stocked

Georgia REA