Is your home prepared for bushfire season? Wildfires are part of everyday life in Australian bushland, and homeowners should be especially vigilant. Before the bushfire season approaches, it’s essential to get ready and make some changes to your property to protect your home and your family. Even if it’s not a bushfire, perhaps another natural disaster such as flooding and wild weather is why you review your homes preparations. Here are tips you can use to help prepare your home before bushfire season, or if you need a reminder to get your house in order:
Replace missing tiles on the roof
According to research, ember attacks account for 80% of house losses during a bushfire. Inspect your roof and seal all gaps. Change missing or broken roof tile. This goes for walls and ceilings, too – check if any of your walls have cracks and if it needs to be repaired.
Clean gutters, drains and downpipes of leaves and twigs
Keep gutters clear of leaf litter and dry tree branches or twigs. Fire authorities recommend homeowners fill gutters with water and block the downpipes to reduce ember attack threat.
Keep your backyard tidy
Longer grass spreads fire faster, so mow your lawn regularly. Clean up fallen leaves, twigs and other debris around your property. Trees with long branches and overhanging shrubs should be trimmed two metres away from your home.
Don’t place your planter boxes at the bottom of your windows. This could catch fire and burn down your windows. Free your backyard from any build-up of flammable material like boxes, paper, hanging baskets or garden furniture.
Create firebreaks with tiles and pebbles
Garden edging using stone tiles and pebbles is excellent to create a barrier and defend your garden. Firebreak helps decrease potential fire fuel load, which will reduce the intensity of a fire and can also serve as a line from which a back burn can be started.
Prep your windows and doors
Permanently close your windows and doors. Make them airtight. Place a wet towel to fill gaps under doors. You can also fit seals like fine steel wire mesh screens on all windows and doors to avoid smoke and particles that can seep inside your home and contaminate your indoor air.
Check your hoses, pumps, generators and water systems
Make sure you have long garden hoses that can reach the perimeter boundary of your property. Check if your pumps, generators and water systems are working. If you have a pool or tank, put a Static Water Supply (SWS) sign on your entrance and help firefighters know where they can get water.
Prepare your bushfire emergency plan
In case you are told to evacuate, know exactly what to do during an emergency. Ensure that ALL your house members see where the community evacuation area is. Take time to discuss the potential safe meeting points.
Make sure to include your four-legged friends in your bushfire plan wearing their identification tag. Prepare their carrier with plenty of water, treats and toys to help keep them occupied.
“Don’t wait to prepare your property. Disaster preparation will help protect your family and your home.”
Create a bushfire emergency kit as part of your plan. Place it in an area where it’s easy to get. Include items such as food, water, first aid kit, batteries, phone chargers, wool blankets, medications, documents, cash, ATM cards, credit cards, and other essential things you need. Check the bushfire alert levels and seek out updates when there are fires nearby.
Keep your first-aid kit ready
Check if your first-aid kit is fully stocked. Prepare a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. Your first-aid kit should include:
- Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
- Triangular bandages
- Moistened towelettes
- Tube of petroleum jelly
- Assorted sizes of safety pins
- Cleansing agent/soap
- Latex gloves
You can also add non-prescription drugs like pain relievers and fever and cold meds, anti-diarrhea medication, and antacids (for stomach upset). Consult your doctor for other medical suggestions or prescriptions, especially if you have a family member who has asthma.
Prepare Your Cleaning and Indoor Air Purifying Tools
Get your cleaning tools ready. Place microfiber cloth, brushes, spray bottles, and other cleaning solutions in a cubby. Avoid cluttering your space with toys and other objects. It can be a hazard for firefighters and your family during an emergency.
Prepare a robot vacuum cleaner and use it after the bushfire event to quickly clean your floors and furniture. It helps you save time and energy since you’re not required to operate them manually. You just need to set their speed and mode and let them do the vacuuming. This will allow you to spend your time on other essential things like inspecting the roof and extinguishing any sparks or embers. Robot vacuums have HEPA filter systems that will help purify your indoor air. Or run an air purifier with equipped HEPA filters. Run the system’s fan continuously to remove airborne particles.
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