Article by Manya Mehra.This article was originally published on iBuildNew.com.au and has been reproduced here with permission.
While there is no denying the beauty of Australia’s reserves and parklands, living close to bushland presents it's own risks, particularly during Bushfire season. Bushfires are unfortunately a part of everyday life in the Australian bushland, requiring homeowners to be extra vigilant at all times.
With the current devastating bushfires sweeping across the country, it is important to prepare your home to ensure if an emergency happens, you will have the greatest protection for you and your family.
We have put together a handy guide with bushfire safety tips to help you prepare your home and family in case of an emergency.
1. Seal Your House
Research shows that ember attacks account for 80% of houses losses during a bushfire, starting with the roof. It is important to look for, fix and/ or replace any missing or broken tiles immediately. This goes for walls and ceilings too – walk around the house and see if any of the walls need to be repaired of cracks.
2. Maintain Your Garden Regularly
This cannot be stressed enough – a clean garden is a safe garden. Especially during the bushfire season, you need to make sure that trees and shrubs are trimmed and your grass is mowed regularly. It is also important to clean up any fallen leaves or branches.
3. Maintain Your Gutters Regularly
Dead leaves and branches are highly flammable and a common way for a fire to quickly spread. It is important to clean out any debris and leaves from your gutters regularly. You can also install metal leaf guards to prevent any build-ups happening.
4. Check Your Smoke Alarm Regularly
It is extremely important to make sure that all smoke alarms installed in your house are working. Check them regularly and remember to replace the battery at least every year.
5. Prepare Your Bushfire Emergency Plan
If you are told to evacuate, you need to make sure you will know exactly what to do and take in that kind of emergency. Having procedures in place is important as well as discussing it with all members of the family. It’s a good idea to take the time and practice fire drills and think of potential safe meeting points.
Make sure to include your four-legged friends in your bushfire plan. Have their carrier ready with plenty of water, treats and some of their favourite toys to help keep them occupied.
Create a bushfire emergency kit as part of your plan. Be sure to keep it in a handy location and include important items such as a first aid kit, spare batteries, phone chargers, wool blankets, medications, important documents, etc.
6. Keep Checking For Alerts
It is important to get into the habit of checking bushfire warnings, fire danger ratings, live incidents and alerts happening in your area. There are many apps you can download on your mobile that will send you warnings and updates.
7. Check Your Home And Contents Insurance
Most home and contents insurances cover fires within the home, however, we may forget to check if a natural disaster, such as bushfire, are also included. Before it is too late, make sure to take out a policy that will protect you in case of bushfires.
For more information, bookmark these important links according to your State:
ACT – https://esa.act.gov.au/
NT – https://www.pfes.nt.gov.au/incidentmap/
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