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Bushfire safety

Bushfire safety

bushfire-ratingBushfires 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.

Make sure you understand the fire danger and warnings.

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, refer to CFA defending your property PDF.

Make sure every member of your household knows and understands your bushfire survival plan. Use this handy CFA template.

Wear appropriate clothes
Cover all exposed skin; wear natural fibres and materials, long-sleeved, collared, cotton or wool shirts, long cotton or wool trousers, jeans or overalls, sturdy leather shoes or boots, cotton or wool socks, a wide-brimmed cotton hat, thick leather or cotton gloves, safety goggles or safety glasses.

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:

References used for this bushfire safety page

More information:

Bureau of Meteorology
National warnings summary

Better Health Channel
Bushfire preparation

Country Fire Authority (VIC)
Plan and Prepare: Farms

Country Fire Authority (VIC)
About Fire Danger Ratings

Country Fire Authority (VIC)
CFA Publications

Country Fire Authority (VIC)
Defending your property – PDF

Country Fire Authority (VIC)
Stay and defend – Bushfire survival planning template – PDF

South Australian Country Fire Service
Preparing your property

Research & reviews:

2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission
Final report, terms of reference & transcripts of hearings

Australian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies
How close do you have to be to learn the lesson? Fire burns!

Bureau of Meteorology
Bushfire weather

Country Fire Authority (VIC)
Research for the Victorian Country Fire Authority on Community Attitudes to Bushfire Safety Prior to 2007/08 Summer Season [PDF 116kb]

Fast facts:

Bushfire safety

  • Decide on your bushfire plan before the start of the fire season.
  • Make sure everyone on the farm, including farm workers and contractors, understand your fire plan.
  • Learn the warning codes and decide when you will leave for each code rating.
  • Listen to emergency broadcasters for updates, but be aware that on high fire danger days you may not receive a warning about an encroaching bushfire.
  • If you choose to stay and defend your property ensure you have a bushfire survival plan.

Last updated: 25th October 2016