As fire authorities face extreme conditions in parts of the country, Wormald’s sister company GAAM Emergency Products is urging all Australians to prepare their properties and evacuation plans for the bushfire season.
With unusually warm and dry conditions affecting large parts of Australia, and a state of emergency recently declared in NSW, the 2019 Bushfire Outlook has warned of above-normal fire potential in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, parts of Western Australia and South Australia. This means there is increased risk for a large fire to take hold, due to the dryness of the land and forests, and recent fire history.
Be fire ready
The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre recently delivered a clear message: be prepared. For home and business owners in bushfire prone regions, now is the time to re-visit your bushfire survival plan and ensure preparations are well underway.
Having a bushfire survival plan firmly in place includes ensuring all members of your household or workplace know what to do in an emergency situation, to avoid making rushed and potentially dangerous decisions at the last moment.
What will you do in the event of a fire?
Rural Fire Services (RFS) across Australia have a range of valuable tools and resources to help plan, prepare, and respond, and NSW RFS recommends following four simple steps:
- Discuss what to do if a bushfire threatens your home
- Prepare your home and get it ready for bush fire season
- Know the bush fire alert levels
- Keep up to date via bushfire information websites and smartphone app
Prepare your property and take action
- For those with an established bushfire survival plan, now is the time to ensure it’s up to date. This means assessing current circumstances, and preparing your property appropriately. It is also a good idea to discuss bushfire response plans together with all occupants and practice the escape routes regularly.
- Always follow the guidelines provided by your local fire services for preparing your property and know your risk to plan accordingly.
- Are you capable of making bushfire preparations for your property and family, including young, elderly, less mobile or infirm people? There are resources to help you prepare your property and prepare your family for a bushfire, including AIDER to assist elderly, disabled and infirm residents, and at-risk community members.
- Is your firefighting equipment well maintained and do those with access to equipment have the necessary knowledge, skills, confidence to use it? Ensure adequate fire protection equipment is in place.
Know the conditions
- The Bureau of Meteorology and emergency services use six Fire Danger Ratings, from low to catastrophic, to communicate the level of bushfire risk. It’s important to know the difference, including how to act in each.
- There are three levels of Bush Fire Alerts to give you an indication of the level of threat from a fire. The ABC Emergency site provides links for current warnings and alerts in place for states and territories.
- In the event of a rapid onset fire, do you know the location and route to the nearest shelter or Neighbourhood Safer Places?
- During the end of year holiday season, many Australians will be travelling and camping. Here’s what to consider when travelling in a bushfire area.
Keep up to date via bushfire information websites and smartphone app
The Fires Near Me mobile app provides up to date bushfire warnings and incident information using data from participating fire agencies in Australia.
Fires Near Me app:
- How to use the Fires Near Me mobile app
- Download the Fires Near Me app for Android
- Download the Fires Near Me app for Apple iPhone
In an emergency, it is recommended to always rely on a range of communication channels including the Fires Near me app, emergency services websites, information lines, and tune into your local ABC radio station. Check your state or territory’s fire agency website for more details:
- NSW Rural Fire Service www.rfs.nsw.gov.au
- Country Fire Authority (CFA) Victoria www.cfa.vic.gov.au
- Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) Victoria www.mfb.vic.gov.au
- Rural Fire Service Queensland www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au
- Country Fire Service South Australia www.cfs.sa.gov.au
- Tasmania Fire Service www.fire.tas.gov.au
- Department of Fire and Emergency Services Western Australia www.dfes.wa.gov.au
- Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service pfes.nt.gov.au/fire-and-rescue-service
GAAM Emergency Products specialises in emergency services. Since 1933, Australian firefighters have relied on GAAM equipment to safely go about their daily operations.
For more tips on bushfire safety, see Wormald’s Preparing for bushfires: Safety checklist or further information contact our team on 133 166.