What To Consider in Your Fire Survival Plan
You don’t have to live in country areas to be at risk of fires. You need to plan ahead for fire season. We’ve already seen a number of fires throughout Australia in the last couple of weeks so it’s important now, more than ever to be prepared.
People don’t always think clearly in emergencies. Taking steps to prepare your home before a fire will be the difference between survival and tragedy. A written and memorised plan will help you remember what you have to do in a crisis.
Some of the issues you need to consider when preparing your Fire Survival Plan:
- Does everyone in your family understand the dangers of fire in your area and how your plan will be put into action?
- Have you arranged appropriate car and household insurance?
- Do you know what you will take with you if you need to leave early?
- Have you considered how to deal with pets?
There are different circumstances that can occur which will mean that you need to undertake different activities.
Deciding to Stay
If your plan is to stay, you need at least the following firefighting equipment and protective clothing:
- Sufficient lengths of hose to reach all buildings that could be threatened
- Buckets and alternative water supplies
- Shovels, rakes, wet towels, sacks or other heavy material that can be used to put out small fires
- First-aid kit
- Full-length clothing (wool, cotton)
- Water bottles or containers to carry drinking water with you
High Fire Danger
On hot, dry days when fires are likely, listen to local radio stations for information, drink plenty of water.
Fire in Your Area
- Listen to local broadcasts or check websites for updates.
- Put on protective clothing.
- Drink lots of water.
- Move car/s to a safe location.
- Close windows and doors and shut blinds.
- Take down curtains and move furniture away from windows.
- Bring pets inside and restrain them (leash, cage, or secure room) and provide water.
- Block downpipes (at the top) and fill gutters with water if possible.
- Wet down the sides of buildings and close shrubbery in the likely path of the fire.
- Turn on garden sprinklers for 30 minutes before the fire arrives.
When The Fire Arrives
- Disconnect hose and fittings and bring inside.
- Go inside for shelter.
- Drink lots of water.
- Patrol and check for embers inside, particularly in the roof space.
- Check family and pets.
Choosing to Stay
- Shelter in your house on the opposite side of approaching fire
- Maintain a means of escape
- Continually monitor conditions.
After the Fire
- Wear protective equipment
- Go outside once it is safe
- Check for small spot fires and burning embers in the following areas:
- Roof spaces
- Under floorboards
- Under house space
- Verandas and decks
- Window ledges and door sills
- Rooflines and gutters
- Garden beds and mulch
- Outdoor furniture
- Monitor media outlets – radio, TV and internet.
Survival and safety depend on the decisions you make. The safest place is to be away from the fire. Create your Fire Survival Plan here.
Putting Your Fire Survival Plan into Action
Paying attention to a fire warning could save your life. There are three types of alert messages that can help you to make the right choice.
- Fire Advice Message – a fire has started – general information to keep you up to date.
- Fire Watch and Act Message – represents a heightened level of threat. Conditions are changing, a fire is approaching; lives may come under threat. Take appropriate action.
- Fire Emergency Warning – is the highest level message advising of impending danger. It may be preceded with the Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS).
An Emergency Warning means there is a threat to lives, and protective action is required immediately.
On days where the Fire Danger Rating is predicted to be extreme or catastrophic, leaving is the best option for you and your family’s survival. Thinking ‘I will leave early’ is not enough. You must PREPARE. ACT. SURVIVE.