Not all homes have had the luxury of being designed with bushfire risks in mind. Yet there are some simple things you can do around your property to make sure you are not left vulnerable as the weather heats up.
Use this list as you go around your property to make sure you have all areas covered and safeguarded against the fires:
Remove any excess fuel that might be lying around such as garden waste or even outdoor furniture. Dispose of them thoughtfully or protect them with fire retardant treatment to reduce the risk.
Trim any low-lying branches and mow your grass regularly. By keeping fuel at a minimum, any fire that does come through will struggle to stay alight.
Property owners are advised to water their roof before and during a bushfire – but it is just as helpful to remember to water your deck for an added bit of protection.
While you’re protecting your deck or verandah, it’s also recommended you enclose any gaps around the deck and ensure that the deck spacing is between zero and five millimetres. Gaps bigger than five millimetres provide an opportunity for embers to become trapped and catch alight underneath your deck. By closing the gaps as much as possible, you are reducing that risk.
Do you have a pool, dam or water tank? If you do, put a Static Water Supply (SWS) sign out at the entrance of your property so firefighters know where they can get more water if they need it. If you have a fire hydrant on your property, know where you can find it and make sure it’s not obstructed.
If you have a hose, bring it inside so it doesn’t melt in the heat and so you can still use it when a fire bears down on you. If your hose isn’t very long, purchase a hose that can reach to the perimeter of your property so that no area is left unprotected when a bushfire hits.
External home areas
Consider installing metal fly screens rather than plastic – they’ll provide you with more solid protection in case of a bushfire. They will also assist in stopping embers entering your home if you have open windows or doors.
Seal all the gaps around your house, like the ones in door frames and window frames, roofs and wall cladding. If you have gas cylinders on your property, position them away from the house if possible and face the valves away from any buildings.
All these precautions can give you extra time when bushfire season hits, or even save your property entirely, but the most important precautions are to obey all the regulations all year round and to create evacuation plans for your property. Be alert and aware this bushfire season.