Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tomorrow, December 23, is a bushfire danger day for most of Victoria, southern NSW and much of  South Australia.

On such days, you never know where a bushfire will start or a flying ember will land. The golden rule - Be Prepared - means: 'do it yesterday'.

Be bushfire prepared at least first thing in the morning.  Put stock in a fallow or lucern paddock. Bring pets indoors. 

Put water, sprayers, buckets, mops, by vulnerable areas. Close windows and doors and put draft stoppers at them. Close shutters if you have them - even temporary shutters of heavy duty foil or a 'sandwich' of insulation batts between galvanised iron sheets will help greatly.  Move flammable furnishings away from windows. Bring in flammable outdoor furniture. Close car windows. Park in non-flammable area. Have protective clothing, nose cover handy and pure wool (NOT SYNTHETIC) blankets. Back up computer on external hard drive or USB stick. If precious possessions haven’t been ‘boarded out’ for summer, cover with heavy aluminium foil or bury them.

There are three core vulnerable areas of a house: the roof  space, windows, subfloor. Far flying embers, not approaching flames, is what endangers houses. Houses burn down from the inside when embers are blown inside.  Flames can be stopped in their tracks by thinning vegetation around your home and removing it from near windows and flammable walls.

Defenders, don’t waste energy and water by wetting house or turning on sprinklers before embers fall. Then concentrate on dousing embers. Put water on a burning substance, not its flames. Don’t go near bush to fight flames. 

The defendability of a house depends on people with defendable ability - with thorough bushfire safety knowledge. 

Passive shelterers must stay by an exit door.

If determined to evacuate, make house as closed tight as possible, cut grass short, get rid of flammable shrubs that are near windows or timber walls, take protective clothing, water blanket and leave as early as you can. Don’t wait for a fire to happen.

If caught by grassfire, stay in the car.

Essential Bushfire Safety Tips (CSIRO) and The Complete Bushfire Safety Book have every fact on defending, leaving & sheltering safely from bushfire.