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2019-03-07 Community & Lifestyle
Author: Satterley Property Group

The importance of Bushfire Awareness

Bushfires are a very real threat in Australia and it's vital we are prepared should they occur. Incorrectly, many people believe that because they live in a Metropolitan area like Heron Park, Harrisdale they will not be impacted by a bushfire. While the threat of bushfire in the metropolitan area may be lower than rural areas, it does not mean that we are immune. We are lucky to have beautiful national parks and bush forever sites throughout the metro area, but occasionally, their beauty can be hazardous to residents.

Bushfires are extremely unpredictable and by having a plan in place that you and your family understand and can act upon is extremely important. DFES reports that the single biggest killer when it comes to bushfires is being indecisive. By having a plan mapped out for you to follow, your decisions are pre-planned and you and your family's safety is the priority.

If you’d like to explore more, read the DFES Bush Fire Manual HERE.

There are three essential questions that form your Bush Fire Plan:

WHEN - Do you know when to leave?

WHERE - Do you know where you will go?

WHICH - Do you know which way to go?

These simple questions are essential for you and your whole family to understand. In the event of a bush fire, the answers to these questions could save your life. 

When a Bushfire is approaching your home you will be confronted with two options: Be safe and leave early or be prepared to stay and defend. The DFES Website recommends ‘If you have any doubt, your safest option is to leave early. If you plan to stay and defend your home, everyone in your household must understand what it takes to be completely prepared. That means preparing your property and organising protective clothing and fire fighting equipment. Be aware that defending against a bushfire could be the most traumatic experience of your life’. 

Bushfire dangers are vast and aren’t just the fire itself. Ember attacks and smoke inhalation are very real risks. Ember attacks actually cause the majority of damage when a bushfire occurs. Embers are pieces of bark, leave and other items that are light and travel, therefore spreading flames quickly. They can land in your garden, gutters, and flowerbed and can quickly form flames. The smoke too can cause lung injuries and even suffocation, so it’s important to be well informed about all the dangers a nearby bushfire can have to you and your family.

A well-stocked first aid kit is also a must. When a bushfire occurs, panic is a normal reaction and can lead to ill-advised decisions. Following your bushfire plan is important and having a first aid kit and the knowledge to treat burns, cuts, and falls is something we and DFES advice. 

Creating your bushfire plan is a great activity to do as a family. Senior Community Development Officer shares how creating a bushfire plan is important to her and an activity her family would do together 'I grew up in a semi-rural area so I was aware of the dangers of bushfires from an early age. My mum put together a bushfire plan and put a printed copy in a clipboard on the inside of our pantry. It included a checklist of items that my parents would take if there was time (including our file of insurance documents, computer hard drive, family photo albums, and heirlooms). Mum also included specific instructions for my brother and I. Mum still checks and updates the plan every year, but it always stays in the pantry. I thought it was such a good idea that I’ve now got my own Bushfire Plan in my pantry too!'.

DFES have a great online tool to help you prepare your bushfire plan. Visit their website to find out more. To chat with DFES, contact their team on 13 DFES (13 3337).

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