Keeping Your Community Safe During the Bushfire Season

January 18, 2020 - 3 minutes read

forest-fire-2268729_640Taking steps to keep yourself, your community and your property safe during bushfire season is paramount – and possibly even more than usual so right now considering the recent devastating fires that we’ve seen.

This all starts with good preparedness and prevention – such as keeping grass under 10cm, pruning trees, removing combustible materials from the property, fire-wise planting, creating a defensible space around the building, and so on.

However that’s not all. Here are some other things you need to do.

Stay informed

The online world has made it a lot easier to keep on top of emergencies in your area. Your local emergency service app (e.g. Vic Emergency in Victoria and Rural Fire Service in NSW) provides regularly updated information on all regions in your state.

But if you are unable to access the internet you should be able to keep updated through your local radio stations or Sky News television.

Take note of emergency authority warnings and information

Emergency authorities provide fire danger ratings from low-moderate to catastrophic. Once the rating reaches either the severe or extreme levels, they advise staying only if you are very well prepared and resourced to defend the property. However, if it reaches the “Code-Red” or catastrophic level in your area then it’s too late.

The most important thing here though is to create a plan where you have decided how you will respond at each level of risk.

Emergency apps and other sources (e.g. ABC emergency radio) also provide warnings such as ‘Watch and Act’, ‘Evacuate Now’ and others which you should keep up with where possible.

Emergency and evacuation plan considerations

As well as planning for evacuations of people your plan needs to consider how parents will collect their kids, the movement of people with disabilities and ensuring emergency leaders can be identified.

It’s also important that you practice your evacuation plan regularly so that if an emergency does occur, you are well-prepared to respond to it.

Our website has more information on how to prepare for evacuations.

Look after people’s health

This can be done by preparing an emergency kit that contains drinking water, first-aid supplies and so on.

Smoke from distant fires can also adversely affect people’s health – especially those who are very young, elderly or who have a respiratory condition. If air quality does become poor in your area and you need emergency assistance, call 000.

Contact us for claims

Sometimes despite excellent risk management, property can be damaged in a bushfire. If you do need to lodge a claim, get in contact us on 03 9488 8800. Our website also provides information on preparing for insurance claims.

Further reading:

Tips for preparing your property for the bushfire season

Written by Tess

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