Additional fire protection for your home

In addition to traditional bush fire preparedness for your home, there are also other protective measures you can employ for added safety when bush fires threaten. Click the link below for some tips. http://www.bushfire.nsw.gov.au/index.cfm?cid=87&the_start=14

These are not a substitute to good housekeeping strategies but an enhancement. Remember ~ people protect houses and houses protect people!  

Home fire safety check list

Preparing your home for the event of fire can be simple and effective. Click on the link below to look at the checklist that covers topics such as emergency phone numbers, electrical and house fire safety and smoke detectors. http://www.bushfire.nsw.gov.au/index.cfm?cid=87&the_start=15

You can also get a copy of the Bush FireWise pamphlet at http://www.bushfire.nsw.gov.au/index.cfm?cid=87&the_start=13

Tree selection for fire prone areas

Select plants from the link below that match the conditions of the environment (soils, rainfall, temperatures, frost and wind), but don't overlook fire as a factor. Some species may be invasive in different environments. http://www.bushfire.nsw.gov.au/index.cfm?cid=87&the_start=17

External sprinkler systems

Sprinkler systems, also known as external water spray systems, will add considerable protection to a well prepared property. To find out more about how to best use a sprinkler system, click here http://www.bushfire.nsw.gov.au/index.cfm?cid=87&the_start=16

Remember your pets!

If you have pets in your keeping, special provisions should be made for their safety. Organise a safe and suitable place for them to go to. Arrange for transport to that location. These measures should be properly planned in advance.

 Dogs

It is imperative that your dog is wearing a collar with an l.D. disc attached. The disc should be engraved with the name of the dog, your surname and telephone number.

When a bush fire is in your area, dogs should be kept inside the house. Never evacuate yourself and leave your animals to fend for themselves. Notwithstanding the threat of bush fire, you may be prosecuted by the R.S.P.C.A.

 Cats

Owners of cats should have a wire basket labelled with the cats name and description, (colour, sex, etc.), plus owners name, address and telephone number. Cat carry baskets, (which are also suitable for rabbits, guinea pigs, etc), are available from pet shops, veterinary clinics and the R.S.P.C.A.

 Birds

Cages should be labelled in a similar way to cat carry baskets. Ensure that you have provided drinking water and have sufficient food for your pet. The effects of bush fires on both people and pets can be terrifying and traumatic. To minimise the risks to your family and pets make arrangements for their safety at the start of the Bush Fire Danger Season each year.

 Livestock

Preparing and maintaining fuel-reduced areas onto which stock can be moved and held during fires can most easily prevent loss of farm animals. This means planning to use fallow paddocks, well grazed smaller paddocks or raceways, irrigated pasture or summer crop areas. Stock yards and holding paddocks must be eaten out and, where possible, have shade and water available to provide emergency protection areas for valuable stud or breeding stock.  

 Essential Services & Personal Safety

At times of emergency, the essential services of electricity, telephone, gas and water could be disrupted or cut. While service providers will endeavour to restore supply as quickly as possible, when the problems are widespread this could take some time. In the meantime you might have to cope as best you can for lighting, information, communication, warmth, food, water, cooking and other necessary activities.

 Lighting

Battery powered torches should always be ready for use. Spare batteries and bulbs need to be stored in the same place as the torches. Remember, you will need a torch to locate other items in the dark. A torch should be located where it can be found even in the dark.

For general lighting purposes, LP gas, oil and kerosene lighting are all practical alternatives. Ensure that fuel is available and that your equipment is in good working order. Exercise caution when using such devices. Make sure they are on level surface, away from other combustible materials, and that they are out of the reach of children. Unless your lighting has an ignition system you will require matches to light the wicks or mantles. If you live in a flood prone area, waterproof matches will be required. Candles are also excellent alternative lighting source, but again care should be exercised with their use.

 Information

Local radio stations will provide you with the best and latest information. The Emergency Services could be extremely busy at such times and many calls seeking information will only slow their response time. Battery powered radios are the most effective sources of information.

Tune to ABC 702 or 2GB 873

 Communications

Mobile phones are becoming increasingly prevalent in the community. These can provide you with a link to family and friends. Where these are unavailable try to keep in touch with your neighbours, if possible. They may have equipment and other facilities that you lack, or vice versa. The Emergency Services will try to establish methods of communication with affected communities until normal services are restored.

 Water

During bush fires you should always store water for several reasons. Drinking water, unless you have your own supply, could be affected by fire brigades using the water supply, or could become contaminated through flooding.

Water is also required during bush fires for dousing spot fires and smouldering embers. If water is in short supply this may also be accomplished by using sand or soil.

Suitable containers that are clean and uncontaminated should be clearly marked "Drinking Water Only". Other containers can be used for extinguishing spot fires.

 Food cooking and other necessary activities.

A quantity of tinned food should be on hand, especially if you live in an isolated situation. Alternative methods of cooking should be available, recognising the restrictions during the Bush Fire Danger Season and problems associated with flood and high winds.

During the Bush Fire Danger Season, barbeques of all types may be used providing they are lit in a permanently constructed fireplace at least 2m from any combustible matter or at a site which is cleared around of all combustible matter for at least 3m and the fire is completely out before leaving the area.

At times of Total Fire Ban no fires requiring solid fuels are allowed. Gas or electric barbeques may be used, provided they are on a residential property within 20m of the house or dwelling or in an area with council approval, it is under the control of an adult, the ground is cleared within 2m of all materials which will burn and you have a continuous supply of water. You may need to consider alternate washing, and personal hygiene arrangements in the short term.

 Personal clothing and safety

During bushfires, one of the main threats to personal safety is radiant heat. Bushfires are capable of generating a tremendous amount of heat and so all exposed areas of the body need protection.

Wool and pure cotton provide excellent insulation from radiant heat. Synthetics will melt before the fire front reaches you. Never wear synthetic material near any type of fire.

Heavy leather boots, or shoes are needed to protect the feet, long sleeved shirts and long pants are required. Gloves, a felt hat, goggles, and a piece of material, nappy, sheeting or the like, can be used as a face mask when smoke is thick, or can be wetted and put around the neck to cool you.

If you are involved in firefighting you must drink water regularly. A water bottle on a belt is very useful, especially if you are some distance from your house. During bushfires and storms, you should take shelter away from windows where flying shards of glass may be a problem. Turn off electrical appliances, including the refrigerator, and do not use the telephone during electrical storms unless it is absolutely urgent.

It is always a good idea to keep your personal safety equipment and clothing together in a clean, dry place where it is easily accessible