Should You Stay and Defend Against A Bushfire ?
During a bushfire the survival of you and your family is the highest priority. While things such as buildings and belongings can be replaced, lives can’t be. When a fire starts, put your Bush Fire Survival Plan into action.
What you should do depends on a number of factors like your personal circumstances, who’s at home and whether your plan is to leave early or stay and defend.
Check out the information below on Leaving Early & Stay and Defend.
The safest option during a bush fire is always to leave early. You must decide at what point it is time to leave. The point at which you may decide to leave will depend on your own situation.
What triggers this could be a range of things such as a Fire Danger Rating of Catastrophic or Extreme, or a fire in the vicinity of your home. Regardless of what your trigger is, it must be something that happens long before your safety is threatened by a fire.
When you leave, you need to make sure you’re going somewhere that is safer. Places you could go might be a friend or relative’s house or a shopping centre away from bushland – which isn’t going to be affected by a fire.
Stay and Defend
Before you decide to Stay and Defend, you should ask yourself if you are prepared and capable. If not, you should leave early.
Before the fire impacts, you need to start defending your property.
Outside the home
– Ensure you drink plenty of water so you do not dehydrate.
– Block your downpipes, (a sock full of sand/soil will help) and fill your gutters with water.
– Move flammable items such as outdoor furniture, doormats, hanging baskets away from the house.
– Gas cylinders should have the valve facing away from the house.
– Do not stand on your roof with your hose. In bush fires, often more people are injured by falling from roofs than suffering burns.
– Patrol the outside of your home, putting out any embers and spot fires that may start. An ember or spark can reach your home hours before the fire front arrives.
– Just before the fire arrives, wet down timber decks and gardens close to the house.
– Move any firefighting equipment to a place where it will not get burnt.
Inside the home
– Continue to drink water so you do not dehydrate.
– Confine pets to one room.
– Close doors, windows, vents, blinds and curtains to prevent flames, smoke and embers from entering.
– Put tape across the inside of the windows so they stay in place if they break.
– Shut off gas at the meter or bottle.
– Move furniture away from windows to prevent any embers that enter the house from igniting.
– Fill the bath, sinks and buckets with water for putting out any fires that may start inside.
– Place wet towels around window and door edges to stop smoke and embers from entering.
During the fire
When the fire arrives, go inside to protect you from the radiant heat. Ensure you have torches ready as it is likely to become completely dark and you will not be able to see. Shelter in a room that is on the opposite side of the house from the approaching fire – and one that has a clear exit out of the house. Patrol the inside of the home, including the roof space for sparks and embers.
Remember – if your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
After the fire
Once the fire has passed, you may need to patrol your property for hours. Go outside and put out any part of your house which is alight. Check under the house as well as in the roof space.
An ember or spark from a fire can impact on a house many hours after the main fire front has passed and small spot fires can quickly get out of control.
If you are travelling by car
Research and testing into vehicle survivability in bush fires has shown that sheltering inside a vehicle is a high risk strategy and it is highly unlikely that a person will survive in such circumstances.
Whilst sheltering inside a vehicle offers you a slightly higher chance of survival than being caught in the open, having a leave early or stay and defend strategy is a much safer option.
If you are confronted with smoke or flames while on the road STOP as soon as it is safe to do so and immediately turn on the vehicle’s headlights and hazard warning lights. If you do need to shelter in your vehicle drive your car into a bare, clear area well away from surrounding trees, leaving your headlights and hazard lights on. Turn off the ignition, close all windows and vents then cover yourself with woollen or cotton blankets to protect from the radiant heat and take shelter below the window level. Drink water frequently and stay in the vehicle until the fire has passed.
Whether you decide to stay and defend, or evacuate when a bushfire threatens, it is recommend that you have a survival kit prepared and some form of fire fighting equipment. View the Bushfire Store’s full range of Fire Fighting Units and Equipment Here.
Blog Page. Should You Stay And Defend Against A Bushfire?