Gayle is an accountant. Shh – don’t tell. She thinks she’s a writer.
Published October 12th 2015
Keep Yourself and Your Family Safe
Summer approaches and with it bushfires and grassfires. Those of us living in urban areas are not without risk. We may live near or even a few streets away from vacant land, bush reserves, dry creek beds or even open parkland where fires can take hold. Are you fire ready?
Urban areas are not immune to bushfire risk. (Image by Gayle Beveridge)
Gutters and Leaf Litter: Leaf litter quickly catches alight and spreads fire and is easily carried on the wind. Have your gutters, roofs and downpipes cleaned and rake up leaf litter from your yard.
Cut Log Grass: Make sure your grass is cut. If you live next to vacant land with long grass you can contact the local council to arrange for it to be slashed or cut. Do not underestimate how fast a grass fire can move or how easily your fences can ignite.
Urban areas are not immune from bush fires (Image from CFA - Country Fire Authority Facebook Page)
Move flammable materials away from buildings: Make sure you do not have flammable materials such as woodpiles, gas bottles, paint cans or rubbish stacked near your house or sheds.
Plan your garden to be fire ready: It is common to have gardens surrounding our houses so give some thought to your choice of plants and mulch. You might consider using a stone rather than a timber mulch. Ideally plant your garden away from buildings. Pruning low lying tree branches and keeping dense shrubbery away from buildings is advisable. Find fire wise landscaping tips here.
Keep the grass cut to reduce fire fuel (Image by anitapeppers via morgueFile)
Roofs, windows and doors: Check your roof for gaps and spaces where embers might gain entry. Carry out any necessary maintenance. If you have wooden window frames check for flaking paint where embers might get a hold on dry wood. If your doors have gaps, can these be sealed? Flyscreens can also assist in stopping embers from taking hold. Find more information about making your house fire ready here.
Rake up leaf litter (Image by puravida via morgueFile)
Have a well-practised bushfire plan: What will you and your family do if you confronted by bushfire? It is difficult to think clearly in times of danger and high stress so have your bushfire plan worked out ahead of time. Get the whole family involved and practise the plan so everybody knows what to do. Find guidance on formulating your bushfire plan here.
Older family members or neighbours may need your help (Image by ohsusana via morgueFile)
Check on older relatives or friends: Your older relatives or friends may no longer have the capacity to make their own homes fire ready and could need your help. Do you need to consider them in your bushfire plan?
Talk to your neighbours: Work together with neighbours to clear fence lines and know your neighbours plans. Will you check with each other as soon as a risk is apparent?
Get guidance from the CFA (Image from the CFA - Country Fire Authority Facebook Page)
More information: Information on bushfire readiness, planning and risks including planning templates and assessment tools can be found on the CFA website. There is some helpful information about Melbourne's bushfire and grassfire risk on the Melbourne and Metropolitan Fire Brigade website.