While the bushfire danger risk reduces in winter, the importance of preparing your property increases.
The cooler months allow residents to clean up their property and prepare for the potential of bushfires in the hotter months. Some tips to prepare your property include:
- Maintain vegetation growth around your property and clean your gutters.
- Test any firefighting equipment you may have (pumps and hoses)
- Prepare/Update your Bushfire Survival Plan – Is it valid? Does it contain the updated contact numbers? Is your place of arrival still available?
- Exercise your plan with your family, friends and loved ones. Do you have pets? What is your plan for them?
Some areas may be allowed to burn unwanted vegetation as part of reducing the hazard risk. To be eligible you need to check the following:
- The local council outdoor burning policy (Port Stephens)
- What do you wish to burn? Does it require a hazard reduction certificate (HRC)? How do you apply for a HRC?
- Are you aware of the legal requirement to notify your neighbours and the Lower Hunter Fire Control Centre minimum 24 hours before you light up?
All of the information required to ensure you comply can be found on the council website, your rates notice and the NSW Rural Fire Service website www.rfs.nsw.gov.au or by phoning 4015 0000.
Home Fire Safety
Inside your home there are a number of things you can do to help remain safe during the cooler months:
- Having a working smoke alarm in your house. Is it clean? Is it free from damage? Has it been checked?
- When using a heater, make sure combustible items are kept at a safe distance back from the source of heat.
Do you have an emergency evacuation plan for your house? Do your loved ones know how you get out in case of fire and do they know where to meet when they get out? Fire safety around your home is simple to set up and even easier to maintain. Visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au today and prepare your home and property from the threat of bushfires.
We are always happy to help you prepare.
Guy Baddock is the Operational Officer Lower Hunter Zone for NSW Rural Fire Service.