If you’re one of the many Australians who’ve made their home in or near the bush, keeping your family and your home safe from bushfire may well be something that’s on your mind – particularly in summer.
Here are some things you can do to help make sure you’re ready should something happen.
Clean your roof regularly
It’s important that your roof, gutters and downpipes are free of leaves, as embers and sparks from a fire can easily set these alight. Installing high-quality metal leaf guards is one way to better manage this danger, as they can help stop leaves from gathering in your gutters.
Maintain your roof and walls
Check your roof is in good condition and replace any damaged tiles regularly. You should also seal any gaps in your external walls.
Keep your garden well maintained
Cut back any overhanging trees or shrubs, keep grass short and make sure there’s no garden mulch near the house. It’s also a good idea to use plants that have a low oil content in your garden such as oaks, willow and fruit trees, as they’ll be less likely to catch fire.
Store anything flammable away from your house
This includes keeping liquids like petrol, chemicals and wood piles as far away as possible. If you have any liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or natural gas cylinders (including those for a BBQ), turn the pressure relief valves away from the house so no flames are directed toward your property should they become alight.
Install a non-combustible fence
A non-combustible fence can withstand the extreme heat of a fire. You can also install metal flywire or screens on the outside of windows and doors.
Test your garden hose
Ensure your garden hose is long enough to reach around the entire perimeter of your home so that you can stop any fires from spreading if it’s safe to do so.
Ensure you're adequately covered
Keep your home and contents insurance up to date and make sure you’re adequately insured. Underinsurance could leave you struggling to rebuild or replace contents if something does happen.
Make a plan
Remember, you and your family’s safety is the first priority in the event of a fire. If you live near the bush you should make a bushfire survival plan and discuss it so everyone knows exactly what to do in the event of a fire. You can search online for “bushfire survival plan” to find one relevant to your state.