TIME TO PREPARE FOR BUSHFIRE SAFETY
Post-Black Saturday 2009 research by bushfire scientists found that very few of those who died had a comprehensive fire plan, and most had only started on safety preparations ‘in the hours before they thought a fire would hit’. They confirmed that bushfire tragedies are not due to ‘catastrophic’ weather, to lack of official warning, nor to your ‘staying’ or ‘going’ – but to apathy, ignorance, and confused understanding of what to do during a threat. Good bushfire safety preparation and knowledge is vital.
NOW IS A REALLY GOOD TIME TO:
- Modify vegetation on your property.
- Make and mend house and outbuildings.
- Check your bushfire safety plan.
INSPECT THE GARDEN for clutter and flammability. Remove undergrowth and mow grass beneath trees – a tree can only ignite if such ‘kindling’ is beneath it. Replace highly flammable native plants and ‘fine fuel’ with fire retardant plants such as succulents and European deciduous trees. Move plants away from walls and windows. Flames can’t ignite cladding if it’s not being hugged by shrubs. In an un-cluttered garden, flames have to thin out; radiant heat has to die down, embers become sparse.
WALK ROUND YOUR PROPERTY and note where embers could get in. Roof/ceiling space, windows and sub-floor are the main entry points. Almost all house ignitions during bushfire are caused by embers entering from these points and they then burn from the inside outwards, furniture and fittings first, frame and cladding last. Houses are only destroyed by Bushfire’s flames only destroy when flammable shrubs are allowed to grow against windows of flammable walls.
SPRINGTIME CHORES FOR SUMMER SAFETY
- Clean out the roof void! Insulate above and below rafters.
- Secure loose roof iron and fill nail holes.
- Plug cracks in roof and cladding with fire resistant expandable epoxy-type filler.
- Insulate wall cavities so burning debris can’t send flames up them.
- Screen windows & subfloor with metal mesh for radiant heat & ember protection.
- Shutter windows if vulnerable to violent winds.
- Accumulate fire dousing facilities – from mops & buckets up.
- Install and fill dedicated water tanks
- Install low flow roof sprinklers if affordable.
PLANNING THE PERSONAL
- Pack a Survival Kit containing pure wool blanket.
- Prepare, plan and practice a thorough safety plan based on proven information.
(See the CFA endorsed Essential Bushfire Safety Tips for full details) http://www.publish.csiro.au/index.cfm