How To Make Your Toowoomba Home Bushfire Safe
It’s been a horrible start to the warmer months right across Australia, with some of the worst bushfires on record hitting nearly every state.
But with the threat set to rise even further over the holiday season, it’s important to prepare your home and make sure it’s bushfire safe.
Build a fire protection zone around your property
If you live in or near a bushfire prone area you can take many steps today to reduce the risk of your home catching alight in the event of a bushfire.
Clear away any leaves or flammable debris from your gutters, and take care to keep any grass near your home properly mowed. If you don’t already have screens and shutters with all gaps sealed (so hot embers can’t lodge themselves inside) then consider making an investment into those non-flammable products. You should also install wire mesh on any roof vents.
If you’re in an area that’s susceptible to bushfires every year, then it’s important you build protections around your home with bushfire-resistant materials. For example, you may decide to install fencing out of metal or brick. If you have timber cladding, it should be regularly inspected and any gaps sealed – as timber is liable to warp over time, this is an ongoing maintenance requirement. Similarly, keep external vents and evaporative air conditioners covered with metal flywire screens.
Most importantly, beware of flammable liquids and where you store them – it’s easy, for example, to forget about the gas bottle underneath your outdoor barbecue.
Book a Safehome inspection
If you’re unsure whether you’ve done everything possible to protect yourself against Toowoomba bushfires, or if you just want an expert opinion, you can book a Safehome inspection care of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES).
A firefighter will visit your home to ensure any and all safety hazards around your property are eliminated. The inspection takes no longer than 45 minutes and is completely free, so call 13 QGOV (13 74 68) to book a visit today.
Keep up to date on the latest reports and council information
Even after you’ve made your home as bushfire safe as possible, you’ll need to stay vigilant. Visit the Rural Fire Service website to find out about any fire bans in place across Toowoomba. This will also show you where the latest Neighbourhood Safer Places are in the event you need to evacuate.
Listen to local radio and check council updates for when bushfires are approaching, and if you do need to leave your home, be sure your phone or a battery-powered radio is always on your person so you can keep up to date on the latest news.
Create a bushfire survival plan
Now it’s time to consider the safety of you, your family and your pets.
While those who live in or near bushland are most at risk during summer, bushfires can – and do – spread rapidly, which means everyone in Toowoomba should have their own bushfire survival plan. After all, it’s better to have one and not need it than need it and not have one.
Queensland’s Rural Fire Service has a webpage that allows you to create your own Bushfire Survival Plan. Simply fill out all the details, print the finished plan and keep it in a safe place in case of emergency.
Your survival plan should include:
- A plan for leaving, including where you will go (e.g. school or community centre).
- A plan for staying, including what you will do with pets or livestock.
- All essential contact numbers for emergency services, your insurance provider, family doctor, work and school, neighbours, family and friends.
- Internet links to relevant warning websites, such as bushfire maps and QFES updates.
- What steps you need to take for an approaching bushfire.
Pack a bushfire evacuation kit
In the event of a fast-moving bushfire, you probably won’t have time to pack an evacuation kit – so prepare one ahead of time. You’ll want to include:
- Clothes (e.g. long-sleeve shirts, jeans and boots).
- A wide-brimmed hat.
- Safety goggles.
- Bottled water.
- Mobile phone (and charger).
- Personal items (e.g. wallet, passport and medication).
- Valuables (e.g. important photos, jewellery and sensitive documents)
- Toys to keep your children occupied in the event you’re away from home for an extended period.
- Battery-operated radio (with extra batteries).
- First-aid kit.
- Portable fire extinguisher.
Keep your evacuation kit in your car or near the best exit in your home.
Toowoomba is the place to be
While bushfires are a constant threat in Australia, the holiday season is a time for relaxing, merrymaking, and enjoying the company of friends and family. Just make sure you’re prepared.
If you’re interested in finding a new home in Toowoomba, contact an experienced local agent today.