Did you know that every year there are 756 bushfires on average throughout South Australia?
There is a real chance you will experience a dangerous bushfire at some time in your life. Apart from preparing your home and property, one of the most important things you can do is to decide what you’ll do in case of a fire. So, if you haven’t already, now is the time to prepare your property and start your plan.
(Note: We’ve written this article in regards to households and properties in general, not in regards to grain harvesting.)
For more information on Harvest and Fire Danger Season, head to: grainproducerssa.com.au
For a great article about how to minimize fires during harvest visit: grdc.com.au/news
Step 1. It is important to have your home and farm well prepared by being free of fire hazards.
A clean, well-organized property reduces fire risk, the likelihood of fire spreading, and makes it easy for you or firefighters to defend.
– Remove vegetation and rubbish away from your home and reduce dry matter for at least 20 metres. Trim overhanging trees and shrubs; mow grass or weeds and remove the cuttings.
– Make sure there is enough space for fire trucks to get in and turn around in your property.
– Prepare your garden areas by removing dead branches, leaves, and undergrowth, and pruning tree limbs lower than 2m from ground level.
– Remove any unwanted materials that can burn, such as wood piles, mulch, old outdoor furniture, etc.
– Clear and remove all the debris and leaves from your gutters.
– Block any areas where embers could enter into or under your house.
– Install a home bushfire sprinkler system that directs water over the roof, windows, doors and underfloor areas. All fittings should be metal as plastic melts. **Seek professional advice for design and installation.
Step 2: Have your equipment ready and working.
– Make sure your firefighter is ready by checking fuel and oil levels and having water prepared in the tank.
– Check hoses for leaks, and make sure there isn’t any algae or slime build up in the tank.
– Do a test run to make sure nozzles aren’t blocked, and everything is working correctly.
– Around the house, prepare a sturdy hose with metal fittings which will reach all around your home.
– Have a reliable independent water supply of at least 5000 litres over all of summer. Tanks, dam or swimming pool will do the trick.
– Don’t rely on mains water or electricity. Keep a generator or diesel pump at the ready around the home. Check engine oil and fuel and make sure these are ready.
Step 3: Get your plan ready, and essentials packed in case of emergency.
– Pack an emergency kit with essential items and documents, and keep it in a handy, easy to find place.
– Make a list of and scan important documents and photos onto a USB stick / external drive.
– Have a battery-operated radio, powerful torch and extra batteries.
– Set aside protective clothing (long sleeved, made from natural material such as cotton, sturdy footwear such as leather boots and a P2 mask) for each member of the family
– Put woolen blankets in your car in case you get caught on the road
– Mark your main routes, including backup routes and petrol stations on hard copy maps
– Talk to neighbors or nearby friends about ways you can help each other
– Don’t forget pets. Make sure your pets needs are in your emergency kit or packed in the car
What To Do On A High Fire Risk Day/Nearby Bushfire:
– If you plan to leave – then leave early, don’t wait.
– Keep an eye on local conditions – stay up to date with where fires are located by using the SA Fires app, CFS website, or listening to the ABC radio station. Social media can also be used: Facebook: @Countryfireservice, Twitter: @CFSalerts.
– Move horses and livestock to a safe area
– Keep pets in a safe place ready to move
– Pack the car prepared for departure just in case – remember essential items such as wallet, cards, keys, papers, etc.
– Keep the car in a spot in the driveway that’s easy to access and ready to go.
– Turn off any gas if you have it.
– Block the downpipes and partially fill gutters if you have time
– Make sure everyone with you is wearing or has protective clothing.
– Tell people you are leaving
– Close and lock all doors and windows
– Leave front gate or access gate open
Remember, during the fire danger season (starting 1st of November 2018 for both the Mid North and Yorke Peninsula areas) there are certain rules we must follow.
Some can do’s and can not’s:
– You cannot light a fire to burn rubbish or to burn off during the season. The only exception is to this is if permits are gained from the local council. But these are never allowed on total fire ban days.
– You cannot have a pizza fire on total fire ban days unless it is gas or electric.
– You also can’t use angle grinders, welders or any other cutting tools outside on total fire bans.
– You can light gas or electric BBQ’s on total fire ban days, but only if it’s within 15 metres of a domestic premise, or on a coastal foreshore. And only provided that: the BBQ is clear of all flammable material to a distance of at least 4 meters; a person who is able to control the fire is present at the site of the fire until it is extinguished, and an appropriate extinguisher is at hand.
The fire danger season is currently running to till the 30th of April for the Mid North and the 15th of April for the Yorke Peninsula.
We’ve accessed this information from the CFS Website. Head on over for more great resources.