Don’t wait for a bushfire to appear

Lancefield fires -2

The next few days are predicted as severe bushfire weather. DON’T WAIT for a bushfire to appear before you prepare. NOW is the time to put your plan into action: whether it is to evacuate, defend or simply shelter. If your plan is to evacuate, you should be preparing now to leave this evening.
Evacuation, home protection and sheltering in place each have their own perils. Either choice can lead to injury, death or survival. Thorough knowledge and careful preparation are imperative for safety.

Severity of weather conditions, particularly of air dryness and wind speed.
Multiplicity and distribution of fires burning throughout your greater region or state.
Severity of ember shower and speed of any fire in your area.
Having protective clothing, a pure wool blanket and water flask.
Leaving well before a fire starts in your area or is likely to start near your route.
Sufficient advance packing and safe storage of precious possessions.
Knowing where to go for refuge, whether community shelter or private house.
The ability to get there safely.
A reliable car, and thorough knowledge of how to shelter safely in it.

Its distance from volatile vegetation in forest or garden.
Its distance from neighbours’ buildings.
Thorough preparation of grounds by plant management and clearance of hazards.
Thorough preparation of house and outbuildings to minimise ember entry.
Frequent practice of bushfire emergency plans.
Protective clothing, a pure wool blanket and water flask.
Enough physical, mental and emotional strength and determination.
Sufficient and suitable fire extinguishing facilities.
Thorough knowledge of how to shelter safely if this becomes necessary.

A shelter location that gives protection from radiant heat, smoke and toxic fumes.
In-house shelter being near a door that leads to a non-hazardous outside area.
Ability to check safely what stage the fire has reached.
Protective clothing, a pure wool blanket and water flask.
Exiting when flames have died down and flammable shrubs/grass are black.
Any outside shelter site being distanced from flammable vegetation.

During most bushfire threats, well-prepared homes can provide safe shelter.
Stayers who have died have usually not known how to do so safely.
Most well-prepared and knowledgeable people can safely defend their homes.
The house survival rate more than doubles when someone is present.
Early-enough and careful evacuation may provide personal safety.
But leaves your house vulnerable. Increased losses are almost inevitable.
Most deaths occur while evacuating through embers, flames or smoke.
The close second highest is when people are outside and not protectively clothed.
The third highest is when people shelter inside too far from an exit.

For the safety and danger of all choices of action before and during a bushfire threat see The Complete Bushfire Safety Book and/or the ready reference  Essential Bushfire Safety Tips (CFA endorsed: ‘A book that certainly could help save lives within the community.’)

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