Prepare your home for bushfire season
With summer just around the corner it’s time for many of us to start thinking and preparing for the impending risk of bushfires. Australia is notoriously bad for bushfires with our long, dry summers and highly flammable native plant species. They don’t call us the sunburnt country for nothing!
The 2019/2020 bushfires were catastrophic, with more than 46 million acres burned across the country and at least 3,500 homes lost. There’s no denying it was an unprecedented season, and the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a much wetter summer season this year, with the prediction of a La Niña climate. The weather and rainfall is obviously not something we can directly control but there are certain measures we can all take to prepare our homes for bushfire season. It’s especially important for those living in rural areas.
Around the house
- Clean all leaves, twigs and debris out of gutters, roof and around house
- Check all pumps, generators and water systems are in working order
- Keep lawn mowed and don’t let your garden get too overgrown
- Cut back any over hanging trees or shrubs
- Ensure hoses are in good working order, and long enough to reach around your house
- Check all gas cylinder valves are pointing away from the house
- If you have a water source such as a dam, pool or tanks put a Static Water Supply (SWS) sign on your gate or property entrance
The house itself
- Fit seals around doors and windows
- Where possible, use metal rather than plastic gutters and guards
- Seal all gaps under house, external roof and cladding
- Ensure your home and contents insurance is adequate and up to date
Invest in a fire tank
Having a separate water tank purely reserved for fighting fires is a great idea. Ensure the tank is easily accessible, and made from a non combustible material. You also need to think about plumbing and fittings, and ensure they are designed and tested to withstand bushfire too. At Orion, we have two specifically designed fire fighting tanks as part of our Galvanised Tanks range. Both the 10,000L and 20,000L come complete with 2” fitting and Tas Fire approved outlet.
Follow relevant guidelines
Knowing what the current fire restrictions and ratings are in your state is imperative to bushfire prevention. Different fire ratings have different restrictions. For example, on a Total Fire Ban Day, all outdoor fires are banned except electric stoves and barbecues provided they are cleared of all flammable material for at least one metre. To find out what fires are currently burning in Tasmania, visit the Tasmanian Fire Service website.
Have a bushfire survival plan
Having a plan in place could make all the difference in the event of a bushfire. Sit down with your family and ensure everyone knows the ins and outs of the plan. Whether you decide to stay and protect your home or leave early is a discussion that should be shared amongst all household members to ensure everyone is comfortable with the plan. Accessing risks and knowing pros and cons is important when creating a bushfire survival plan. The Tasmanian Government information guide on how to create a plan is a really handy and informative resource to share with the whole family.
And remember, always stay up to date with guidelines and if you’re going to leave, leave early!