If you’re like 53 per cent of the population and you’ve not yet prepared your home for the bushfire season that brutal Australian summers can often bring with them, it’s time to put a few precautions in place.
Even those in metro areas who live close to national parks or large areas of bushland are not immune to the threat. Rather than think you’re safe and regret not taking steps later, here are five simple steps you can take to start to protect your home.
“Preparing your home before a threat makes it easier to defend, helps firefighters and is less likely to put neighbours’ homes at risks as well,” says ServiceSeeking’s CEO Jeremy Levitt.
“Obviously, advice from your local fire service should be followed if you find yourself in very near proximity to a blaze at any time.”
In the lead up, however, you can:
Get it out of the gutter
If you haven’t done it already, clearing your home’s guttering of leaves and twigs is a great place to start. Those autumn leaves dried out by summer’s intense heat are easily set alight by embers or fire – don’t take the risk and clear them all away now. Dispose of them in a green bin or the green waste pile at your local tip as piles of leaf debris on the ground can also be a fire hazard.
Mow it down
Keep your lawns short and gardens maintained – not just because it looks better, but because it provides less fuel for any fires heading your way. Cut back trees and shrubs close to your property and clear debris, leaves and twigs which may have fallen around your home regularly. It’s recommended you keep a 20 metre perimeter clear zone.
Most of us don’t think about our roof until we spring a leak, or in the case of summer, even the smallest bit of damage can have devastating effects in the event of a fire. A cracked or missing roof tile could allow an ember to get into your roofline, making it much harder to protect your home.
Ensure it’s insured
It’s too late to discover your home and contents insurance is inadequate, or you failed to take it out in the first place, after a bushfires decimates your home. If you’re not sure of the level of your insurance cover, speak to your insurer. If you’re in a particularly bushfire prone region, ensure you have adequate fire insurance in place. And if the premium seems too high, then shop around rather than cutting it out altogether.
If you have a pool, tank or dam, the NSW Rural Fire Service encourages you to put a Static Water Supply sign on your property entrance so firefighters know they can access water.
If you need help clearing your gutters, cutting down overgrown vegetation or checking your roof, post your job on ServiceSeeking.com.au, a website which has everything from tradies to accountants, cleaners, removalists and photographers.