How to Prepare Your House for a Bushfire
Are you prepared for bushfire season?
As a Western Sydney resident you love the idyllic lifestyle of bush living, but with bushfires a natural part of the Australian environment, and a yearly threat to Blue Mountains wilderness, it’s important you know how to prepare your house for a bushfire.
It’s true you can’t control the weather during the hotter months, but the simple steps you take today can ensure your home is protected if fire threatens your property tomorrow.
Here are 5 simple ways to avoid being caught off guard during the next bushfire season.
#1 - Repair your roof
A bushfire burning tens of kilometres away can still destroy your home through burning embers that travel by wind.
Research has shown that airborne embers account for up to 80% of house losses, making it vital you protect your home from the top down. With embers able to enter your home through gaps as small as 1.8 millimeters, a regular audit of your roof’s tiles will make sure there are no holes in your armour.
The NSW Rural Fire service recommends replacing missing tiles so if you notice a broken tile or missing shingle, schedule maintenance ASAP.
If your roof is damaged then building waste can easily pile up without you realising. Your roof may be out of sight, but make sure it’s not out of mind to keep your family and property safe.
#2 - Clear out your gutters
It only takes one ember to set alight a pile of dry leaves.
Even a small build up of leaves, twigs and debris in your gutters can create a catastrophe in waiting. Clearing out your gutters and drainpipes before bushfire season is a simple way to minimise your risk.
With Western Sydney’s summer temperatures routinely pushing the mercury past 30°C, as well as bringing hot and dry winds, removing debris from your gutters takes away a source of kindling that bushfires love.
#3 - Remove green waste from your garden
Removing excess green waste from your garden is at the heart of successful bushfire clean up. Even if you’ve only got a small lawn, the hot and dry conditions during the spring and summer months can turn green waste into kindling.
Here are some simple tips to help you remove green waste from your garden this bushfire season:
- Mow your grass regularly as long grass spreads fire quicker
- Trim low lying branches 2 metres from the ground
- Trim overhanging branches near the house
- Clean up fallen leaves, twigs and debris around your property
Once you’ve maintained your garden it’s crucial you remove all organic material. Leftover green waste in Western Sydney is a constant fire hazard whether it’s a pile of freshly cut grass clippings, branches you’ve cut down, or dead trees in your backyard.
#4 - Dispose of flammable items
Disposing of flammable items should be part of your bushfire protection plan. While green waste is the obvious flammable material, assorted junk also creates a fire hazard that should be removed.
Does your verandah have stacks of old wooden furniture you’ve been meaning to dispose of? Does your garden shed have bundles of old newspapers and junk that have been gathering dust for years?
On a regular day these are items you tell yourself you’ll get rid of when you have time. But on the off-chance your home is threatened by fire these same items have the explosive potential to fuel oncoming flames and put your entire property at risk.
#5 - Check your water supply
Planning for a bushfire is one thing – taking action when there’s smoke and flames near your home is another.
Making sure you have access to a water supply, and the water supply can reach the boundary of your property, will help if your property is at threat of fire.
A hose that’s long enough to reach your back fence, as well as your roof, means there’s no blind spots in your bushfire survival response.
Your hose should have a good nozzle with no leaks to concentrate water pressure where it’s needed most.
15% of Sydney residents have swimming pools, so if you’ve got a pool in your yard you should leave it full as a backup water supply in case of emergency.
Your bushfire preparation checklist
A good bushfire survival plan is one that includes risk minimisation strategies before bushfire season.
It always pays to be prepared so remember include the following steps in your home’s bushfire survival plan:
- Repair your roof
- Clear out your gutters
- Remove all green waste
- Dispose of flammable items
- Check your water supply
A well prepared home is more likely to survive a bushfire. These safety precautions are supported by the NSW Rural Fire Service so you’ll be doing your bit to prepare your house for a bushfire and protect your family.