Be prepared for bushfires

You don't have to be living in rural areas of Australia to be at risk from bushfires

Firemen fighting bushfires

Now is the time to check your fire preparedness.

Bushfires can strike at any time during the warm spring and summer months in Australia and you don’t need to be living in a rural area to be at danger. While those living in a more rural setting may have fire plans to hand, urban dwellers think they don’t need one. People are often caught in bushfires because they haven’t decided whether, in the case of an emergency, they will stay or go  and simply leave the decision too late.

Preparing a fire plan should be as seasonal as spring cleaning, but if you don’t know how to check your fire danger, mark out your nearest escape route, or your local muster point, then take 30 minutes to read the documents for your state and be fire ready.




South Australia



Western Australia


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    13th Feb 2017
    One of the horrible events of the Canadian fires last summer was to the poor domestic animals. Because houses now have fire alarms hard wired the pets were trapped in their homes with the fire alarms going for days. It wasn't until the fire brigade let the owners back to their homes that they could rescue their poor animals. Can you imagine. It would have been horrendous.
    So if you have a fire contingency - add a plan for the pets.
    13th Feb 2017
    Plans are simply that -plans. The great majority of plans last about 5 minutes, as nothing is going to be as you think it will be. If you have a "leave" plan, you are smart. I strongly suggest you practice it. Grab what you REALLY need, and drive off. Takes longer than you think doesn't it! And what do you take?

    There is only one preparation needed - have your essentials packed in boxes at the start of fire season, and leave early. Those that want to stay and defend are usually those who have not experienced a fire. Choking smoke, incredible heat and noise, blind fear and panic, not positive for anyone over 40 or under 39. Just leave.

    Remember, all of your stuff is just that - stuff. You can get more stuff. You only have one life. Leave your house for the experts to defend.

    Been there, done that.
    13th Feb 2017
    Hi Janus, good post, and very good advice, and just one cavil, that those who stay have never,.. etc. I don't have any info about percentages in that department, but plenty of experience, - first my "credentials", My family moved to Mooney Mooney NSW when I was 8, by the time I was 9, I was clambering up steep cliffs with the current plastic back-pack water spray unit, - I think app. 30kgs and I am small, so already committed, for many years, then I was at uni in 1994, at the time of the Sutherland fires, truly awesome, I organised a team of 5 of us students and we all piled into my VW, and went down, - fortunately I knew the structure so we got quickly assigned to "damp down", a couple of houses, ie drench with water, in a threatened row, with the fire front doing 25-30ks/hour app 50ks away, - there was one wooden house, we were very liberal with that one, and a brick house all clean, so did not need much, - whatever, as we had just finished and started to roll up etc, there was a mighty roar from the valley on which the top of these houses were perched, suddenly the air was full of smoke and lttle flaming clumps of ? were falling, the which we started to extinguish, but more and more, too many, but the roar doubled, and the temperature started to rise amazingly, then the roaring and the temperature doubled/tripled again so I said to my crew, RUN, - we had an oval behind us so we just ran, the flame tongues over us maybe 20 /40 metres ahead of us, - fortunately not down where we were near the ground, or we would all be dead, possibly waited another 30 seconds likewise, - so lucky, then suddenly finished, wow, the power of a crown fire, a very very strong experience of the power of nature, and not one to seek again.
    The wooden house survived, the brick caught fire inside, - apparently big picture windows allowed the heat to get into the house and start fire inside, good things to remember.
    Since then I have experienced a couple of strong cyclones, in common is that feeling of Nature? the world? gone mad, the winds getting stronger and stronger, just building up and up, the ground vibrating, the house trembling and groaning and seeming no limit.
    Fortunately my 105 year old house is well built, it held on those times, but with both Larry and Yasi, many didn't!
    But I digress, before Qld I moved to Bellingen NSW, founded a Rural Co-op, so a group sharing land, up in the bush, so I organised a bush fire brigade, minimalresources, but some good equipment, then organised bigger then a local branch brigade, buildings, fire truck etc, so Thought as I was and am designing renewable energy systems, to have an Electric fire truck, (soon called the Solar fire truck because of my business, but it was not Solar, but had Batteries and a substantial Inverter, (please be patient folks) and a pump and Inverter tested in an oven by the Inverter company "Selectronics Australia" - (Local industry taking this situation seriously) so the power was available virtually instantaneously, the local Fire Control Officer, "Col Fitzgerald" gave his approval, so we set up an old Toyota short wheel base trooper, "Mr Freeny" with the current diesel pump also there, (I am not sure that the diesel pump, which cost more than the 'solar' system was ever used) and it was the relief unit for small brigades, anf fiercely desired for burn- offs (hazard reduction) as you did not have to have the diesel or petrol pump hammering away hour after hour, in what was usually a bit of a social occasion as well.
    It was also good for first strike situations, - a tourist would lose control of a barbecue/campfire, ring up the local brigade, - normally then would ring up a few members and then.. when there were enough, head out to the fire, often too late, so it became a major, but the electric fire truck, which had no possibly cranky internal combustion engine, no valves to open and close and prime etc, but you just rolled out the hose, pointed it at the fire and pressed the trigger, so quick, so easy, just one man could totally operate it, and bring that possibly enormous fire to an end in the nick of time ..and there was the problem, even a girl could operate it, Oh! No! Mens territory, the bushfire council at that time rejected this new advance because then women could help fight fires, - and that despite that in the situation in the later Sutherland fires, fire trucks and crews were killed because they were caught by the fire, and despite having a "Fire Curtain", they were roasted because the Internal combustion engine running their water pump was starved of oxygen, - fire took all the oxygen, so the fire curtain failed and the brave fire fighters died.
    So, the electric fire truck does not need oxygen, the energy is stored in batteries, the fire curtain would have continued and saved those men, usually local men with families - normally that fire front will only affect the truck for five minutes or less, I am quite sure those men would have liked a continuous fire curtain so they could continue life with their wives and children, as would we all. Fear not, I told the Bushfire council all this but they ignored!
    Whatever, there is somewhat to learn from this for folk wanting to live through a fire in the bush leading to their home, (apart from the idiocy of sexual prejudice and bureaucracy),
    1/- - these folk, should have a back-up electric system, either batteries and an Inverter, to run a total fire curtain, providing a spray on the roof and all outside walls, - preferably circular sprays that cool a lot further out, or, to provide the same critical power, a generator in a deep cave under their house that can deliver quite a large amount of air to that generator, caapble of supplying that pump for the fire curtain a longer time, (a house is bigger than a fire truck and can have a lot more scrub around it) so maybe 20 minutes full on and then lesser pumps for an hour, with water storage for at least that, preferably double, - you can use a back-up genset afer the fire front has passed, maybe only 3/5 minutes, then.
    2/- House itself, - have, Insulated fire proof covers for all your windows, easy to install, (ie not up in the back shed, covered by ten years of garbage, as one house I rented had, ) with clear instructions and all components in place and ready, and/or the house full/ semi underground, or thick preferably slow burning material on the outside everywhere, (eg thick wood, bricks, thick clay) as the fire curtain will extinguish that, - you may end up with a black wall, much better than no wall, or blocking walls, so radiation can not come in, fire curtain supplied by the above stand-alone system, removal of scrub close to your houses, family car in cave so you can go to town when you suddenly find you are living on the surface of Venus, (or so it seems), and finally,
    3/- Bulletproof internet/phone, what you have, Power system - local power will be down, local satellite towers probably also, lan line junctions destroyed by heat. - Your battery system/genset should be able to cover the power for that, and Why?
    Community these days is real, if your community thinks you are dying they will organise the police to come and save you, i.e, take you away from your house defence systems and therefore destroy your house, even though you have spent all your otherwise wasted insurance money on defending your house, Ministers, despite having done nothing to mitigate the climate change and dodgy agricultural or real estate practices, that have probably caused this situation, will try to take center stage and demand all are evacuated, maybe call in the army, "for their own good," talk of Pirates of Penzance.. You have decided what is for your own good, not some ignorant posturing politico.
    And also, you will be able to access the local firies, tell them what is happening down your way, - so they can divert scarce resources elsewhere, so they know where the fire front is, and so you can re-assure your freaking out distant family/relatives/friends that it is OK, - which will free up a fair bit of the local network/phone lines/etc.
    Most would think that No.3 is the last to worry about but it is a lot more important than you may think.
    13th Feb 2017
    A bush fire will do, as it will..that's it

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