Staying safe this bushfire season

Bushfire Safety ACT HammondCare

Summer in the ACT provides perfect conditions for barbeques and socialising in the sunshine. Unfortunately, long periods of hot, dry weather also bring the potential for bushfires. 

However, being prepared and creating a bushfire safety plan will go a long way towards keeping you safe and could help reduce the impact to your property.

We’ve put together some guidelines to help you prepare for the summer ahead. It’s important that everyone knows what to look out for and where to find information, and has an emergency plan.

Why have a plan?

Emergencies can strike with little warning. Advance planning allows you to act calmly and effectively under any circumstances. Your plan should be in writing, easily accessible and practised to help you remember what to do in an emergency.

Follow these four easy steps to create your plan:

  • Discuss what you’ll do during a fire with your family and support people
  • Prepare the area around your home for the season ahead
  • Know the bushfire alert levels and what you’ll do in the case of each level
  • Keep up-to-date on conditions in your area.

The ACT Emergency Services Agency (ACTESA) has created an excellent bushfire survival planning template, which you can complete to guide you through this summer and future seasons. It’s important to identify your own capabilities and any support you may need when preparing your plan.

Download the ACTESA Bushfire Survival Planning template

Fire plan advice for NSW

Daily fire danger ratings explained

Rating

What should I do?

Code red

These are the worst conditions. Homes are not designed to withstand code red fires.

Leave high-risk areas the night before or early in the day. Do not wait and see.

Extreme

Fires under these conditions are uncontrollable, unpredictable and fast moving.

If your home has not been modified to withstand extreme fires, leaving early in the day is your safest option.

Severe

If a fire takes hold, it may be uncontrollable.

If you are not able to actively defend your home, leaving early in the day is safest.

Very high

Fires can most likely be controlled and homes can provide safety.

  • Check your Bushfire Survival Plan
  • Monitor conditions
  • Action may be needed
  • Leave if necessary

High

Be aware of how fires can start and minimise risks.

Low / Moderate

Controlled burnoffs may take place – check for permits and conditions.

If you live in a high-risk area, leaving early is the safest option for Code Red, Extreme and Severe rating days. Planning to leave early means you won’t be in a situation where you might panic or make the wrong decisions.

Put together an emergency kit

It’s also important to prepare an emergency kit of essentials that you would take with you, including water, non-perishable food, medications and prescriptions, mobility, visual and hearing aids, toiletries, sunscreen, pet supplies, important papers and emergency contact numbers. Tell your support person where your kit is.

The final step in bushfire preparation is to create an emergency list. It should include:

  • Emergency contact details including your support people, your doctor and your HammondCare At Home team
  • A description of any medical issues or disabilities
  • A list of essential medications and equipment, their locations and instructions
  • Information on how to turn off your electricity and gas
  • A list of dangerous or hazardous items around your home
  • A list of items that would need to be raised in case of flooding
  • Instructions on how to care for your pets
  • A list of what is in your emergency kit

A little preparation today can make a big difference tomorrow.

Having a plan and knowing what to do in an emergency will give you the peace of mind to have a safe and enjoyable summer.