Last month, authorities warned that this year Queensland could be heading for one of the worst bushfire seasons in five years. So concerned are they that the bushfire season was launched three earlier than usual. With 60% of the state now drought-declared and a very dry, very hot Summer predicted – are you bushfire ready?
There are simple steps you can take now to ensure that your property is bushfire prepared:
- Mow your lawn on a regular basis
- Remove any combustible material such as branches, dead leaves and dry grass
- Ensure that flammable items such as furniture, boxes and wood piles are stored well away from the house and outdoor structures
- Trim back any branches under 2 metres in height
- Clean all gutters of leaves and debris
- Repair any damaged roofing and seal any gaps
- Install fine, steel wire mesh screens on all windows and doors
- Ensure that LPG cylinders are stored in an upright position and relief valves are directed away from your house
- Ensure that your house number is clearly visible for emergency services
- Test pumps, generators and water systems and have repaired and/or serviced as required
- Check that your first-aid kit is fully stocked and consider getting your first-aid training up-to-date
- Have emergency contact numbers handy and know where to get regular updates – local radio station frequency, relevant social media pages, SES
- Purchase and test gutter plugs
When a fire is approaching
- Block all drain pipes with gutter plugs and fill the gutters with water
- Bring inside all outdoor furniture, children’s toys, door mats etc.
- Move your car to an easily accessible but safe location
- Hose down verandahs and vegetation in close proximity to your house
- Turn on any sprinklers in the front and backyards
- Move furniture away from windows and take down any curtains
- Fill containers with water – don’t forget buckers, sinks, baths and wheelie bins
- Soak towels in water and place under external doors
- Place ladders – inside and outside – ready for roof access
- Ensure your pump and generators are ready to go
- Prepare any pets and livestock
- Drink plenty of water
- Stay close to the house and monitor emergency services updates
- Patrol your home and yard for spot fires ahead of the fire front and extinguish them
As a family you will need to decide, in advance, whether you will stay and defend your home or evacuate. This is often not a comfortable discussion to have but if you live in a bushfire prone area it is a must. Make a decision and plan accordingly.
Regardless of whether you stay or go, once a fire front has passed once it is safe to go outside you should check for any spot fires or embers. Don’t forget to check:
Inside the roof space, under floorboards, under the house, verandahs, decks, patios, window ledges and door sills, roof line and gutters, compost heaps, garden beds, mulch piles, wood piles, carports, sheds, garages, and on outdoor furniture.
You should then shelter at home, continue to drinks lots of water and monitor your local radio station and social media for updates – venturing out now could cause additional traffic congestion that could impede emergency services.
More information can be found here