The threat of bushfires is a fact of life for many Australians each summer. 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.

Recent bushfire facts and figures

The Climate Institute Organisation of Australia explains:

  • The 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 and your home 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 stark 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. Speak to a representative to 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 have confidence that 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 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.

Important information

The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. NAB recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.

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