As a nation, we’re far too familiar with the impact bushfires can have on our beautiful country and communities.
Unfortunately, being prepared for the inevitable is something we have to contend with, so when bushfire season rolls around in your area, you’ll want to make sure you and your home are prepared as possible.
To help minimise risk to your property, we’ve curated a step-by-step checklist you can use when bushfire season arrives.
Before Bushfire Season
Ideally, you’ll start prepping your property right at the start of the bushfire season and keep things well-maintained, especially through the riskiest times of the year. There are 4 key areas you’ll want to cover – your home’s structure, its access points, the surrounding garden/back yard, and your personal effects.
- Clear leaves, twigs, bark, and other debris from the roof and gutters
- Purchase and test the effectiveness of gutter plugs
- Enclose open areas under decks and floors
- Install fine steel wire mesh screens on all windows, doors, vents, and weep holes
- Install metal gutter guards
- Point LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) cylinder relief valves — a fuel commonly used in most Australian BBQs — away from the house
- Conduct maintenance checks on pumps, generators, and water systems
- Seal all gaps in external roof and wall cladding.
- Display a prominent house or lot number, in case it’s required in an emergency
- If there are tree branches you can trim, try and do so to provide access for fire trucks around your property (you’ll want at least 4m of height and 4m of width).
- Reduce vegetation loads along the access path
- Mow your grass regularly
- Remove excess ground fuels and combustible material (long dry grass, dead leaves, and branches)
- Trim low-lying branches two metres from the ground surrounding your home.
- Check that you have sufficient personal protective clothing and equipment
- Relocate flammable items away from your home, including woodpiles, paper, boxes, crates, hanging baskets, and garden furniture
- Check your first-aid kit is fully stocked
- Make sure you have appropriate insurance for your home and vehicles
- Have a bushfire emergency plan in place (for what you’ll do in the event of a bushfire).
If a Bushfire Arises
If you receive a warning that a bushfire may threaten your property (or if you suspect this yourself), it’s time to fall back on your pre-prepared bushfire emergency plan.
To help, we’ve put together a complete guide to preparing a home evacuation plan.
Designated Safer Areas
One decision you can make ahead of bushfire season is where you’ll go if you’re forced to relocate. Thankfully, most regions have simple guides to their designated safe areas:
Ensure Your Insurance is Up to Date
Don’t wait until after something goes wrong to find out what your insurance covers. If your area is particularly threatened by natural events (like bushfires or floods), make sure your Home & Contents Insurance will cover you.
Budget Direct offers Bushfire Insurance as part of their Home & Contents Insurance policy, so in the event of a large-scale fire, you can be covered for debris removal, repairs/replacement of your home and belongings, and temporary accommodation as needed. It’s also worth keeping in mind that most insurers have a 72 hour wait period, between when you take out the policy and when you’re covered in the event of bushfire or grassfire.
And if you’re not a customer, you can find out more about how Budget Direct can help you get your Home & Contents Insurance Solved™.