Stay or Go? Bush Fires

It seems since the last time I wrote a blog (even though it was posted earlier in the week) there have been more and more fire outbreaks. Hopefully you and your family are safe.

Last time, we talked a bit about how to prepare your house and property for the oncoming fire. But what are YOU going to do? First of all, you need to decide if you’re going to leave to avoid the fire, or stay and try to endure it.

If you’re going to leave, you need to leave well before the bushfire approaches and makes travelling too dangerous. Also, you should absolutely have an evacuation kit prepared and packed in your vehicle.

Please include the following in your evacuation kit:

  • Clothes that cover you (long sleeve shirt, jeans, etc.)
  • Boots
  • Hats
  • Safety goggles
  • Bottled water for everyone for a few days
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Batteries
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Blankets (preferably made of natural fibres)
  • Passports/birth certificates
  • Wallets/ purses
  • Medications
  • Valuables (photos, documents)
  • Entertainment (toys for kids, board games, etc.)

Before leaving, make sure you’ve secured your house and, if you can, try to wet everything down. Water your yard and plants that the fire is likely to get to and wet down the sides of your home. Fill containers with water but also make sure you drink plenty of water. But also, make sure you have a contingency plan. Things may happen and the fire may reach your home sooner than you think, making it impossible to leave. So make sure you are also prepared to stay and endure the fire.

If you need to stay (or are planning your back-up plan), have the same items in your emergency kit as your evacuation kit, but add the following:

  • Smoke masks
  • Gloves
  • Torch
  • First aid kit
  • Towels
  • Ladder
  • Shovel
  • Mop
  • Bucket
  • Hoses
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Knapsack sprayer

According to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services site, you should do the following as the fire arrives on your property:

  • Disconnect hose and fittings and bring inside
  • Go inside for shelter
  • Drink lots of water
  • Shelter in your house on the opposite side of the approaching fire
  • Patrol and check for embers inside, particularly in the roof space
  • Check on family and pets
  • Maintain a means of escape
  • Continually monitor conditions

Once the fire has passed, thoroughly check your house and property for any spot fires that may have been left behind.

Just as with the contingency plan for leaving, you should also be prepared to leave if necessary. It never hurts to be prepared, even if you’re sure the bushfires won’t affect you. Be safe and be aware of all fires going on around you.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services site:

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