Wherever you live, you should take steps to prepare your backyard for fire season. While the dates vary each year and for every council, most of NSW go into fire season in early October. Once in effect, residents must notify their council of an intent to burn and secure a free permit to do so in their backyard. You must do this at least 24 hours before your planned burn, and you must also notify the neighbours of your plans. We all have a role to play in keeping our neighbourhood safe and yours doesn’t stop with safe burning. There are plenty of backyard hazards that could contribute to fires. So, it’s time to prepare yours for fire season.
Why You Need To Prepare Your Backyard For Fire Season
Everyone needs a plan in place for fire season, whether it’s to leave early or to shelter in place. But, it isn’t just you who needs a fire plan in place. It is just as important to consider your home’s fire plan. By preparing your backyard and home for fire season, you give firefighters the best chance possible to fight fires quickly. The quicker they can contain the spread, the more efficiently they can remove the danger and get things under control.
Taking steps to prepare your backyard also helps protect your neighbours’ homes and provides you with more protection if you are forced to shelter in place and cannot escape. It’s important that everyone works together to protect the community.
How to Prepare Your Backyard For Fire Season
For starters, you can pop your address in the fire risk assessment tool provided by the NSW Rural Fire Service. This will allow you to complete a form that will rate your risk of bush fire. Whatever the result, you will be offered advice as to how best to prepare your property for the fire season. Additionally, based on your home’s construction, the tool will tell you whether your best bet is to leave early or to shelter in place.
You can prevent fire from spreading to your home by trimming shrubs and overhanging trees. Mow the lawn, remove the cuttings, and clear the area around your home. If it comes to it, it will provide firefighters with a safe working area.
Clear Your Gutters
Any leaves and debris in your gutters can serve as kindling for an already raging fire. It’s important that you thoroughly clean your gutters before fire season kicks off. A fire sprinkler system for your gutters may be something to consider if you live in a high-risk neighbourhood.
Wood piles, furniture, doormats, leaves, and mulch can all contribute to fires. This is material you should remove from around your home and garden. If you have a dilapidated wooden shed, break it down and get rid of it. Look at your garden through the eyes of a firefighter and consider what risks it prevents this fire season. If you can’t store it safely, you need to remove it.
If you don’t already, you should install a sturdy hose. This should be long enough to reach right the way around your home. You should also have a reliable stock of water, whether it’s a tank, dam or pool. If you do have a reliable stock of water, you can hang a Static Water Supply sign at the entrance to your property to alert firefighters. Having a pump available is also useful, and while petrol is fine, diesel is the safer option of the two.
You can take additional protective measures by replacing missing roof tiles, repairing damaged ones, and installing metal guards on your gutters. Further, you can cover and repair external wall gaps, fit seals around windows and doors to keep smoke out and install mesh screens on doors and windows.
It should go without saying that you should maintain up to date home and contents insurance.
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