The threat of bushfires is a fact of life for many Australians each summer. And, with global temperatures rising, bushfires are getting more severe and frequent. Whether you live in the bush or the suburbs, you need to take steps to stay safe and protect your home and contents. We provide a few handy tips to get you bushfire ready this summer.
Give me the main points
- Temperatures are rising and so too are the risk of more severe bushfires.
- Under-insuring your home and valuables could leave you out of pocket in the event of a claim so assess their value regularly.
- Don’t forget to update your insurance policy with new purchases or house upgrades.
- Prepare your house, and your family, for the bushfire season to keep them safe.
Recent bushfire facts and figures
The Climate Institute Organisation of Australia explains:
- Most severe fires in Australia have occurred after 1990.
- Australia’s temperatures are rising every year.
- Due to climate change, Victoria could face fires as severe as ‘Black Saturday’ every two years.
Rising bushfire risk
If you live near bushland, then you are at risk from bushfires.
Fire authorities added it’s not a matter of 'Will a bushfire occur?' but rather 'When, and how severe will it be?'
Remembering Black Saturday
In 2009, bushfires in Victoria led to loss of life, homes and livelihoods.
The Black Saturday fires were a timely reminder that bushfires can arise without warning. Many homeowners were left out of pocket or with nothing at all because they didn’t have adequate insurance. Unfortunately, it's only after disaster strikes that people realise the impact.
Update your insurance
If you haven’t done so already, now's the time to make sure your home building and contents insurance is up-to-date. Make sure it provides enough cover to replace your home and contents should a bushfire happen. Don’t forget to add the value of any recent purchases, renovations or home extensions to your policy.
Take steps to protect your home
With adequate insurance, you’ll know you can replace your home and contents without financial loss. But homeowners should take precautionary steps to protect their homes and loved ones before a bushfire develops.
Here are some simple and regular steps you should take to be bushfire ready.
- Regularly clean leaves from gutters and downpipes.
- Keep woodpiles and other flammable materials away from your house.
- Cut any long grass or dense scrub near your property.
- If possible, have a 20-metre safety buffer around your home free of rubbish and flammable waste.
- Take time with your family to sit down and develop a bushfire survival plan. Make sure all family members know what to do in the event of a fire. All states and territories have plans on their websites. Here’s Victoria’s as an example: cfa.vic.gov.
- Have a back-up plan just in case something goes wrong.
- Consider purchasing a portable pump to use from your swimming pool, water tank or nearby lake.
- Have a first aid kit and protective clothing ready should fire approach.
- Install sarking in your roof (reflective non-combustible sheeting that resists burning embers and heat generated from bushfires).
- Install bushfire-screened windows and shutters.
- Install metal screen doors to reduce the chance of ember igniting a wooden door.
- Use non-combustible materials for your outdoor decks. This'll reduce the possibility of a fire spreading between the decks and the house.
- Prepare pets and livestock.