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Journeys : Dec2011 Jan2012
“If you live in or near bushland, you, your family and your home are at risk,” he said. “Tasmanian firefighters – with the help of property owners – can quickly control most bushfires burning in mild summer conditions. “But when the weather turns hot and windy, fires can rapidly spread out of control. When that happens, tragedy can quickly follow. “But even on the hottest and windiest days, fewer lives and homes would be lost if property owners planned and prepared for bushfires.” Preparing your property. Creating a defendable space around your home is the most important task when preparing your property for bushfires. You should do this regardless of whether you intend to relocate to a safe place or stay and defend your property. “Properly preparing a property against the threat of a bushfire gives you and your family the very best chance to survive,” said Mr Brown. To prepare you should: • Clear a defendable space (at least 30 metres) around buildings. • Clear undergrowth by removing or burning off. • Ember-proof your home by filling any gaps in the eaves, around windows and door frames and protecting large under-deck areas with non-flammable screens. • Removing fire hazards from around the home. • Rake up bark, leaves and twigs. • Ensure you have access to a good water supply and firefighting equipment. • Ensure your property is accessible to fire trucks. “Proper preparation will improve the safety of firefighters and their ability to defend a building successfully even if the occupants are absent when a bushfire threatens,” he said. It will also provide an option for people who plan to leave when fires threaten but are caught by surprise. Should you leave early or stay and defend your property? “People should decide well in advance of a bushfire whether they will leave or stay with their homes to defend them.” Mr Brown said, “There are two safe options when threatened by bushfire: leaving early well before the fire arrives, or staying and defending a well-prepared property. “Remember, leaving early is always the safest option. Staying to defend property during a bushfire always carries some risk of injury or death.” However, defending your home is a reasonable choice if: • your home is well-prepared; • you are physically fit and emotionally prepared; • fire conditions are less than ‘extreme’. “But the decision about whether you should leave early or stay and defend your property is up to you and others in the household,” said Mr Brown. Do not flee at the last minute. Fire services know that many people don’t make timely decisions about what they will do when bushfire threatens. They wait until the fire is close before deciding what to do. When fires are burning under ‘severe’, ‘extreme’ or ‘catastrophic’ fire conditions, this can be fatal. Most people who die in a bushfire are caught by the fire in the open, either in their car or on foot. Others are killed or seriously injured because they crashed in poor visibility when they left too late. Mr Brown stressed, “It’s very important you do not flee a bushfire at the last minute. If your home is well prepared it may be safer to protect yourself from radiant heat by sheltering inside for the time it takes the fire to pass.” Nearby safer places However, even the best plans can fail. You must identify a number of safe places that you can relocate to at very short notice if all else fails. This could be a well-prepared neighbour’s house, or a nearby ploughed paddock, sports ground or beach. If you can’t identify some nearby safe places, you must plan to leave early. You should only rely on these places as a last resort. Remember, leaving early is your safest option. For detailed information on preparing homes and property for bushfire or for a free copy of the updated version of the DVD Bushfire – Prepare to Survive, visit www.fire.tas.gov.au or free call 1800 000 699. TFS Bushfire Safety Advice Tasmania Fire Service Chief Officer Mike Brown said, “Every year bushfires threaten lives and property in Tasmania.” This TFS message brought to you by Prepare Act Survive RAI 0655_FP_1. 12_J. pdf Page 1 2/ 11/ 11, 4: 37 PM 40 December 2011 / January 2012
Oct Nov 2011
Feb March 2012