1. Plan and prepare

You may want to create a bushfire survival plan and discuss it with every member of the household, so each person knows exactly what to do in case of a fire.

Remember it’s worth regularly checking, testing and updating all fire safety equipment including smoke alarms.

For more information about bushfire preparation, see the NSW Rural Fire Service’s Bushfire Survival Plan.

2. Clear out your gutters

Embers and sparks can quickly set leaves alight – so it’s a good idea to clear your roof, gutters and downpipes of debris. For extra fireproofing, you could attach a sprinkler system to the gutters and install gutter guards which can help prevent leaves from gathering. 

3. Mind the gaps

The NSW Rural Fire Service suggests to check your roof for any damaged or missing tiles – and repair or cover gaps in your external walls to help reduce the chance of embers getting in.

4. Maintain your garden

Cutting back any trees or shrubs near buildings, and keeping your lawn well-maintained can help minimise the spread of fire. Check with your local council on the regulation on trees as it varies by state. Don’t forget to clean up fallen leaves, twigs and debris around the property.

5. Remove flammable items

If your veranda or deck has mats, outdoor furniture, wood piles or even flammable liquids such as petrol or chemicals, move them out of the way to reduce the chance of them catching alight as summarised by the Country Fire Authority.

6. Secure the perimeters

Consider replacing timber fences with metal that can better withstand the extreme heat of a fire and attaching fine metal mesh screens on the outside of windows and doors, see also Prepare your home by NSW Rural Fire Service. Check that your garden hose has a reliable source of water and is long enough to reach the entire perimeter of your property.

7. Protect your car

In a bushfire, your car can be an essential escape option. But remember, driving into a fire front is extremely dangerous, so plan to leave early. If your car is garaged, make sure a garage door opener is part of your emergency kit, and that you are familiar with the manual opening mechanism if there is a power outage.

On high fire-risk days, the Victorian Country Fire Authority recommends, parking your car in the driveway facing out. This makes it easier to leave while it’s still safe to do so, or to take shelter in your car in a cleared area – like a park or paddock – as a last-resort option.

8. Check your insurance cover

Regularly reviewing your home and car insurance can help ensure you have up to date and adequate level of protection. Understanding the inclusions and exclusions of fire cover in your policy can help in case you need to make a claim. For instance, does your policy cover loss or damage to building and contents caused by fire (including bushfire), or heat, smoke or soot as a result of fire?

Generally, there’s a 48-hour waiting period after starting a policy before you can claim on bushfire damage. Check your policy, as waiting periods vary with each insurer.

It’s a good idea to know what your Bushfire Attack Level is for your property, as this could potentially increase the rebuild costs if you live in a bushfire risk area.

You can get help estimating the replacement cost of your building and contents using the Building Insurance Calculator or Contents Insurance Calculator as a guide.

 

Explore our range of insurance products

Tell me more

Things you should know

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice.

Home and Car Insurance is provided by CommInsure, a registered business name of Commonwealth Insurance Limited ABN 96 067 524 216 AFSL 235030 (CIL). CIL is a wholly owned non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 (The Bank). The Bank does not guarantee the obligations or performance of CIL or the products it offers. As this information has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this you should consider the appropriateness to your circumstances.

A Product Disclosure Statement is available at all Commonwealth Bank branches, by downloading them from commbank.com.au or by calling 13 2423 and should be considered before making any decisions about these products. You should also read the Home Insurance Key Fact Sheet, Financial Services Guide and Privacy Policy which are also available by calling 13 2423. The target market for this product will be found within the product’s Target Market Determination at commbank.com.au/tmd.

Sources: