During every major bushfire, CFA fire fighters and fire vehicles must be positioned at the fire front, working to prevent the fire from spreading. There simply may not be enough fire tankers available to defend every home, so a great deal of responsibility rests with the home owner for their personal safety as individuals, families and community groups.
This means that you need to be as self reliant and well prepared as possible to help ensure the survival of your family and property.
If you intend to stay and defend your property during a bushfire you will need to make sure you have the right gear and equipment. Every household and family is different – different people, skills, level or preparedness and situation. If you plan ahead your risk will be lowered:
- Personal Protective Clothing - Long trousers or overalls in natural fibre (jeans or cotton) and long-sleeved shirt or jumper (cotton or wool) to protect skin and body from exposure to radiant heat, broad-brimmed hat or hard helmet, sturdy leather boots or shoes, goggles or glasses to protect eyes from smoke and flying embers, sturdy garden gloves (not rubber or synthetic), face mask or damp handkerchief to cover the nose and mouth to help breathing
- Buckets - Preferably metal, however plastic buckets also work
- Mops - Old-fashioned cotton mops are good as they hold a lot of water to extinguish embers
- Ladders - To provide access to the ceiling space through the manhole
- Blankets and Towels - They can be wet down and used to seal any gaps under doors to prevent embers and smoke from entering the house
- Torches – battery-powered. Have a torch handy just in case to help you work around the home in the dark
- Radio – battery-powered. Communications are important. The CFA provides regular updates to radio stations throughout major bushfires. You can tune-in to ABC radio or your local community radio station for updates
- Shovels and Rakes - Useful for breaking up piles of burning material and for covering burning embers with dirt to extinguish
- Knapsack - Firefighter knapsacks can be purchased, however many of the weed sprayers sold in hardware stores would also be suitable
- Downpipe and Gutter Plugs - Available at hardware stores and plumbing suppliers or you can make your own
- Hoses - Make sure you have enough hoses and that they are long enough to reach all extremities of your home. Metal hose fittings are a good idea as they are less likely to melt in high temperatures
- Sprinkler System - Garden sprinkler systems can be used during a bushfire to wet down the area around your home. It is also possible to install roof-mounted sprinklers and sprinklers under the eaves
- Water - Of course, you’ll need water. Have an independent water supply in a dam, tank or swimming pool. A trough, bath or large drums filled with water can be the difference between putting out spot fires and losing the house. A wheelie rubbish bin filled with water is a great idea, as it can be moved around
- Firefighting Pump - You cannot rely on mains power or water in a bushfire. A petrol or diesel-powered firefighting pump is needed to draw water from an independent water supply
During a bushfire....
You need to be self reliant as there may be no CFA appliances available to protect your home during a bushfire.
Download a copy of the CFA's Living in the Bush: Survival Guide