Bushfires are a natural and unavoidable occurrence in most areas of Australia. If there is risk of a bushfire in your area, be fire ready and carry out your planned and practiced bushfire survival plan. If you live in a bushfire area, consider leaving early in the day if weather warnings predict ‘severe’ or ‘extreme’ fire danger.
If a ‘Code red’ (catastrophic) rated fire danger day is expected, the safest option is to leave early in the morning or the night before.
If an ‘extreme’ day is expected, your safest option is to leave early in the morning or the night before. If you decide to stay, you need to be sure that you are prepared to the highest level and that you can actively defend your home if a fire starts. Make sure every member of your household knows and understands your bushfire plan.
Make sure you understand the fire danger and warnings.
Wear appropriate clothes
Cover all exposed skin; wear long pants, a long sleeved shirt, sturdy boots, leather gloves and a wide-brimmed hat. Eye protection and face masks are also recommended.
Send children to safety early if you plan to stay
If you plan to stay, it’s better to send your children to stay with family or friends in an area not at risk of bushfires. Reassure them that you will stay in touch. Children, while they may appear to cope with stress, often have traumatic reactions, like nightmares and behaviour problems for a long time after the crisis.
Listen to emergency broadcasters, like local ABC radio, but be aware that on high fire danger days you may not receive a warning about an encroaching bushfire.
Contact local fire authorities
Always refer to your state fire authority for further information about bushfire safety:
- New South Wales - www.rfs.nsw.gov.au
- Northern Territory - www.pfes.nt.gov.au
- Queensland - www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au
- South Australia - www.cfs.sa.gov.au
- Tasmania - www.fire.tas.gov.au
- Victoria - www.cfa.vic.gov.au
- Western Australia - www.fesa.wa.gov.au