What to do if a bushfire threatens your home

A wet winter and good spring growth means a higher-than-average bushfire threat this summer, with hot and dry conditions forecast for the coming months.

Medowie Rural Fire Brigade Captain Andrew Collins said, “Now is the time residents should be inspecting and preparing their homes and properties.”

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“Also think about what you’re going to do with your pets and what to do if you’re travelling.”

The following list should be part of your plan:

· When will we leave? What will be your sign to leave? It could be smoke in your area, or as soon as you find out there’s a fire near you.

· Where will we go? Where’s a meeting place that’s safe and away from a fire area? It might be a friend or relative’s place, or even a shopping centre.

· How will we get there? What road will you take? What’s your backup plan in case the road is blocked?

· What will we take? Make a list of what you’ll take in the event of a fire. Remember to include pets, identification and irreplaceable items such as photos or documents.

· Who will we call? There should be someone we can call to let them know we’re leaving and that we’ve got there safely.

· What is our backup plan? What if things don’t go to plan? Identify a safer location nearby such as a neighbour’s home that is well prepared, or a place of last resort.

If you decide to stay, questions should include: Will anyone in the family will be at risk by staying; will the family cope in an emergency situation; does the household have the equipment in the RFS Decide to Stay checklist and is there a back-up

It is not safe to stay with your property under some circumstances, such as if the fire danger rating is Catastrophic; if there is an Extreme fire danger rating and your home is not specially designed or constructed for bush fires; or if your property is not well maintained.

Under these circumstances you should always leave early.

Remember that bush and grass fires can move quickly and catch you off guard.

If you are caught in a fire, protect yourself from the heat.

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