What to do in case of a fire?
During a bushfire the safest place to be is away from the fire. Being involved in a fire may be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life. You and your family’s survival and safety will depend on the decisions you make now and acting on these decisions. Do not wait and see.
Put your safety first.
Any decision you make should be based on your survival, homes can be rebuilt. Leaving early if a fire starts, hours before a fire reaches you, will always be the safest option for you and your family or household.
Only stay and defend your home if it is well prepared and constructed, and you are capable of actively defending it. Prepare for the emotional, mental and physical impact of defending your home. If you have any doubts about defending your home, you should leave.
If you do need to use your home for shelter, stay in the house when the fire front is passing. This usually takes five to 15 minutes. Keep checking for spot fires around and inside your home, especially in the roof space. Spot fires can still occur several hours after the main fire.
Remember to cover up as much skin as you can, but do not overload yourself with tight fitting or heavy clothing, as the heat will be intense. Two layers of loose fitting, natural fibre clothes work well. You should protect yourself from radiant heat with long sleeves, long trousers and strong leather boots.
Whether you choose to leave for a safer place or to shelter in a well prepared and defendable home, preparation is the key for survival.
Travelling during bush fire season
Click HERE to download the Department of Fire and Emergency Services 'Travellers Checklist’, this publication advises that it is important that people travelling during bushfire season prepare ahead, in case a bushfire occurs. This includes having a map of the area they are travelling to and being aware of the surroundings.
The ‘Guidelines for People in Cars during bush fires’ (2008) advises that ‘People should reconsider journeys into areas where the fire danger is high to extreme. They should pay attention to fire danger warnings, postponing journeys or finding alternative safe routes if necessary’. It also recommends that people carry a supply of water on journeys and keep woollen blankets in their car.
If you are travelling during bushfire season, to a high risk area it’s important that you prepare ahead, in case a bushfire occurs;
Make sure you have a map of the area you are travelling and are aware of the surroundings;
Find out the most up to date Fire Danger Rating (DFES or BOM website)
Check with if the Local Government has declared a Total Fire Ban or a Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban for the area;
Pack a bushfire survival kit containing essential items in case of a bushfire; and
Be prepared to change your travel plans on hot, dry and windy days. Find out the local ABC radio frequency so you can receive up to date information during a major emergency.
Horses and bush fires
Living on a property with your horse is a unique lifestyle for many West Australians. However, many horse properties are in or near bushland areas, and this comes with the real risk of bushfire. Bush fires happen every summer, they can start suddenly and often without warning.
Before summer starts you need to decide what you will do if a bush fire threatens and how you will prepare and protect your horse(s).
Whether you choose to leave for a safer place, which may be to relocate to family and friends, or choose to take shelter in a well prepared and defendable home, preparation is the key to survival.
Your bushfire survival plan needs to include your decisions, as well as what actions you will take to protect your horse(s).
More information is available HERE.