Due to Australia’s mostly hot, dry climate, bushfires are frequent during the summer months and cause damage to large areas of bushland, property and loss of life. Parts of New Zealand also experience bushfires or wildfires when conditions are conductive. Often unnoticed at first, bushfires can be caused by lightning strikes, arcing from overhead power lines, arson, campfires, cigarettes and dropped matches, machinery, and controlled burn escapes. Bushfires can spread quickly, with devastating effect and the best way to reduce your risk is to be prepared before fire season. Here you will find some tips on what to do before, during and after a bushfire.
Before a bushfire
Here are some things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of a bushfire.
- Put together an emergency kit and a bushfire plan. Here is a great interactive guide on preparing your property for bushfires.
- Regularly clean roof and gutters.
- Inspect chimneys at least twice a year. Clean them at least once a year.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are installed and working correctly. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once each year.
- Make sure each family member knows how to use a fire extinguisher and show them where it’s kept.
- Keep handy household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, axe, handsaw or chain saw, bucket and shovel.
- Keep a ladder that will reach the roof.
- Clear items that will burn from around the house, including wood piles, lawn furniture, barbecue grills, tarp coverings, etc. Move them outside of your defensible space.
- Make sure you have a garden hose that is long enough to reach any area of your home or other structures, like a shed, on your property.
- Rake leaves, dead limbs and twigs. Clear all flammable vegetation.
- Mow your lawn regularly.
- Make sure you have spare batteries.
- Review your home and contents insurance policy and update a list of your home’s contents. You can use Insurance Tracker to help with this.