By Mark Gowans, Managing Director, Wormald Australia
Bushfire season has arrived early this year and weather experts are warning that the risk of bushfire will be above average this summer. If you’re a business or home owner in a bushfire prone area, now is the time to re-visit your bushfire survival plan and ensure preparations are underway. There is no room for complacency – preparing and sticking to a bushfire survival plan can help to save lives.
Inland grassfires will be a serious threat across the 2013/2014 summer. This year’s heavy rains and high temperatures have spurred grass growth and built up fuel in grasslands across inland NSW, VIC, SA, WA and north QLD. Coastal WA and NT are also at high risk.
Grassfires are especially dangerous as they can start easily and spread quickly. It is imperative that home and business owners are ready to respond quickly in the event of a fire.
All Australian fire services agree that a bushfire survival plan can help prevent rushed and dangerous decisions at the last moment, giving people and property the best chance of survival. If you’re unsure about how to develop a bushfire survival plan, your local fire agency or fire protection specialist can offer assistance. It is a good idea to practice bushfire response plans and escape routes regularly.
Now is also a good time to re-visit an established bushfire survival plan to ensure it’s up to date. Assess your current circumstances and make decisions around whether you could stay and defend your property should a fire occur, or whether it may be better to leave early. If you decide to stay and defend your home, you should follow the fire service’s guidelines for preparing your property and ensure adequate fire protection equipment is in place.
Research compiled by the Rural Fire Service and CSIRO, as reported in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, found that people’s level of preparedness is vital, particularly well ahead of blazes.
Wormald’s sister company GAAM Emergency Products offers a lightweight and easy-to-use fire fighting package called the Fire Defender, which is suitable for homeowners and small businesses. The device draws water from a source such a swimming pool, dam or creek, and is suitable for suppressing small scale spot fires or ember attacks.
The links below offer local area guides for bushfire survival from each state’s fire department:
- NSW Rural Fire Service
- Country Fire Authority (CFA) Victoria
- Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) Victoria
- Rural Fire Service Queensland
- Country Fire Service South Australia
- Tasmania Fire Service
- Department of Fire and Emergency Services Western Australia
- Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service
If you have a mobile device, there are many apps available which can help with bushfire protection planning. For example, the NSW Rural Fire Service offers ‘FiresNearMe’ and ‘MyFirePlan’ apps and the Country Fire Service has the FireReady app.