PREPARE FOR A BUSHFIRE

Your best chance of surviving a bushfire is to plan in advance and be prepared for the decisions you will have to make about leaving or staying and defending.

No one expects a bushfire to come their way. But the reality is that one can strike anywhere.

Getting your home, property and family prepared before a bushfire happens is your best chance of staying safe, and it may save your life.

Remember: You need to talk to your family and neighbours about what you will do in a bushfire to stay out of danger. It’s important that everyone understands what they need to do.

Have you had your 5 minute Fire Chat?

Most people underestimate what it’s like to experience a bushfire. A bushfire will turn day into night and sound like the roar of a jet plane. Smoke will burn your eyes, the heat radiated by the fire will sear your skin and the hail of embers coming down is relentless.

What would you do if a bushfire threatened your home and family?

Your first step to get prepared is to take 5 minutes and have a Fire Chat to discuss three lifesaving questions.

Start your Fire Chat now

Know your Fire Danger Rating

Fire Danger Ratings (FDR) tell you how dangerous a fire would be if one started. The higher the FDR, the more severe the bushfire will be.

If you are in a bushfire risk area you need to stay informed and know what the FDR is for your area each day.

When the FDR is extreme or catastrophic, it means any fires that start are likely to be so intense that even a well prepared and actively defended home may not survive. In these cases, your best chance of survival is to leave early. Finding out the FDR should be the first step in actioning your Bushfire Survival Plan. You should consider the rating when you decide whether to stay and actively defend your property or whether to leave early.

Know the bushfire alerts and warnings

If you live in a bushfire risk area, you need to understand the Bushfire Warning Systems before a fire threatens your home. The alerts give information on how severe a bushfire is once it’s started. Alerts have four warning levels indicating the increasing risk to your life or property, and the decreasing amount of time you have until the fire arrives.

Get the factsheet

For all current bushfire alerts and warnings visit emergency.wa.gov.au

Prepare your emergency kit

Your household should have an emergency kit packed and ready to go if you need to leave your home for a safer location. Download and print this list so you and your family can tick off essential items.

Find more information about preparing an emergency kit here.

Prepare your home and property

Firefighters will be too busy fighting fires on the frontline to defend your home and property, so it is your responsibility to be prepared. Download, print and complete the Property Preparation Checklist to give your home and property the best possible chance of surviving a bushfire.

Managing vegetation around buildings

New Standards in Western Australia are making it easier for people to protect their property from bushfires. The introduction of Bush Fire Risk Treatment Standards allows landowners or occupiers, within certain areas of the State, the ability to undertake specific vegetation management activities around residential and public buildings. If followed, the Standards ensure they will not be liable to prosecution under other laws. Open the Standards here or visit the Western Australian Government Gazette.

The Standards apply to all bushfire prone areas of WA, but there are some exclusions to protect important environmental or heritage sites. To read the exclusions to the Standards, download the PDF here.

DFES will soon release a guide to help owners and occupiers of land understand where the Standards apply, and the vegetation management activities that are covered. For more information, download our Frequently Asked Questions.

Asset Protection Zones

As a property owner, you have an important role in reducing the bushfire risk to occupants, visitors and neighbours. One of the most important steps is the creation and maintenance of an

Asset Protection Zone (APZ).

An APZ is a low-fuel area immediately surrounding a building. It should include a defendable space adjacent to the building, which is no less than three metres in width, has minimal vegetation and is free from combustible items and obstructions. If correctly designed and maintained, an APZ can increase the likelihood that your building can be defended during a bushfire and that it will survive if left undefended.

Prepare your pets and livestock

When preparing your bushfire plan, think about the welfare of your pets and livestock. You have a duty of care for them, and having a plan means you can act early to give your animals the best chance of survival.

If you can’t take them to an alternative location in advance, you should plan to find a safe area on your property for them to shelter. For livestock, look for a large, well fenced sandy area without trees or buildings nearby, and easy access to a dam. Ensure that your animals have access to adequate food and water.

Prepare your community with

Bushfire Ready is a community-led program that encourages local residents to learn about planning and preparing for bushfires by working together.