Prepare a bushfire survival plan
If you live in or near the bush, you should make a plan that sets out what you will do to prepare your home for bushfire, and what you will do if a bushfire approaches. Writing and practicing a bushfire survival plan will help you think through the actions logically, give you something to refer to and help control fear and anxiety if a bushfire breaks out nearby.
The plan should be prepared carefully and thoughtfully. People usually have two safe options when threatened by bushfire:
- Leave early.
- Stay and defend adequately prepared properties.
Leaving early is always the safest option.
You should understand the risks you face and explore options well in advance of the bushfire season. Your plan should be adaptable, as circumstances may change before and during bushfires.
Burns, injury, exhaustion, a more intense fire than anticipated, failure of equipment, loss of power supplies or water, structural damage to the building caused by wind or flames, or some other unforseen circumstance can compromise plans.
Your plan should include:
- The steps you are going to take to prepare your home for bushfire.
- If you are planning to stay, the steps you are going to take to make sure you can defend your home safely.
- The steps you are going to take to make sure you can leave early for a safe place (even if you are planning to stay).
- A list of nearby safer places that you can flee to at very short notice as a last resort in case your plan fails. Examples include cleared open spaces such as a beach, ploughed paddock or recreation ground. If nearby safer places are unavailable, you must plan to leave early.
- If you plan to leave early, where you will go, how will you get there, what you take with you, and what will trigger your plan to leave.
The plan should also include what your family members should do if they are not at home, for example children at school.
Let your family, friends and neighbours know what you are planning to do.
Remember that if your home has not been prepared and is closely surrounded by flammable vegetation, there is a high probability that it will burn down if threatened by an intense bushfire, even if firefighters are nearby. Firefighters will concentrate on saving homes that can be protected with minimum resources and without putting lives at risk.
Therefore, regardless of whether you plan to stay with your home if it is threatened by bushfire or leave early for a safe place, the Tasmania Fire Service urges you to prepare your home so that it can be defended.
If you do not prepare your home and property so you can defend it against a bushfire, you should plan to leave early, well before fire threatens your home and make sure it's well insured. Leaving early is always the safest option.