As the summer is upon us, there is a major decision each of us must make in the event of a bushfire. The decision to either leave early to avoid the danger; or the decision to stay, defend our home and survive. In either case, a Bushfire Plan is important, as is letting your family and neighbours know your decisions and movements.
The safest option is to leave early, hours before the fire reaches your home to avoid being caught in smoke, the fire, or on a congested road.
On high fire risk days or actual fire days: block drain pipes and fill gutters with water; remove flammable items from the exterior of the house e.g. blinds, outdoor furniture, doormats; and pack your prepared belongings into your car and leave in accordance with your plan.
What will prompt you to go? The trigger might be a very high fire danger rating (check the weather page of your daily newspaper or the TFS website) or a fire breaking out nearby. Consider moving to low fire risk areas, such as a nearby safe town or beach or a community fire refuge. Consider a number of travel routes to avoid areas where fires are burning. Develop a list of items your family will need, and prepare an Emergency Kit. (Checklist available on Tas Fire Service website at www.fire.tas.gov.au
Stay and Defend should only be considered if your home is well prepared, specifically designed and constructed for bush fire and you are capable of actively defending it. Monitor your local ABC radio station. Pack your Emergency Kit into your car. Staying to defend a well-prepared property during a bushfire always carries the risk of injury or death. Because everyone’s Survival Plan will be different, complete the Stay and Defend Survival Plan for you and your family’s circumstances and keep it in a safe and easily accessible place.