Following last summer’s devastating bushfire season, Australians have never been more aware of the damage bushfires can do. Yet many properties and businesses are still caught under-prepared and the results can be disastrous.
The most important thing you can do before bushfire season starts is to prepare. If you live or work in a bushfire-prone area, you need a plan. It doesn’t need to be complicated, in fact the clearer and simpler the better. We’ve put together some tips and resources to help you get started.
Download the ‘Get Prepared’ mobile app.
The Get Prepared app created in conjunction with the Red Cross helps people prepare for bushfires, and any other emergency. You can download the free Get Prepared App for Apple and Android mobile phones. It allows you to complete simple checklists, add in key contact details and take actions to ensure you’re prepared for any potential emergencies you may face. You can also download the app from the Red Cross here.
Prepare your property.
According to the CSIRO, an authority on fire management, behaviour and prediction, 85% of properties lost in bushfires are from embers igniting garden debris. This is why the preparation you do ahead of summer such as sealing gaps around windows and doors, clearing gutters and removing leaf litter around the garden is vital. Keep shrubs pruned, your lawn mown and if you can relocate garden beds so they’re away from the house, even better.
Create a bushfire survival plan.
This includes what you’ll do and where you’ll go in the event of a bushfire. It is essential that you plan well in advance, have an Emergency Kit packed. For more detailed information on bushfires in your state or territory, visit the Bureau of Meteorology and check with your local fire service authority.
Go through the plan together.
When you’re working through your bushfire plan, talk it through with everyone in your household so they know what to do. Run through what everyone will need to pack in terms of basic clothing and toiletries. If you have pets or livestock, make sure you factor them into your bushfire survival plan. Get to know your neighbours, particularly if they’re elderly or need extra support in an emergency.
Write or print out your plan and put it somewhere easily accessible, make a list of emergency contact numbers.
Create a survival kit.
This should include items such as bottled water, a fire blanket and fire extinguisher, first aid kit, woollen blankets and emergency contact numbers.
Check your insurance cover.
Clean-up and rebuilding costs can be affected by a number of factors including location, building codes, Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) and the presence of hazardous materials.
Even if your circumstances haven’t changed significantly, it’s wise to check your insurance at least once a year to make sure you have the right level of cover. This includes adding any renovations or extensions you’ve made to your home insurance and listing any new and potentially expensive items under your contents insurance. Use our Home & Contents Calculators to estimate your replacement cost needs, or speak to your insurance broker, or contact us on 13 24 81 to find out more.
Want more information?
As they say: knowledge is power, so the more information you have, the better equipped you’ll be to give your property a fighting chance. For more advice, visit:
- NSW Rural Fire Services Bushfire Survival Guide
- ACT Emergency Services Agency
- QLD Fire and Emergency Service Bushfire Survival Plan
- Tasmanian Fire Service Bushfire Survival Plan
- SA Country Fire Service Prepare for a Fire
- WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services
- NT Fire and Rescue Service
- Vic Country Fire Authority
By preparing now, you can feel reassured that you’ve done the groundwork and have your property as ready as it can be. Hopefully your plan will never have to see the light of day, but it will give you peace of mind to know it’s there if you need it.
Find out more Bushfire Awareness Fire Facts here.
This page provides general advice that CGU Insurance has sourced from emergency services. For up-to-date and specific advice relating to the risks in your area please speak to your local council or emergency services.