A new edition of the key guide that helps people survive a bushfire has been released following research by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES).
The research conducted earlier this year found many people who live in high risk areas underestimated the destructive nature of bushfires and thought it wouldn’t happen to them.
The results have been incorporated into the latest edition of the bushfire guide Prepare. Act. Survive. that was released recently.
DFES Director Community Engagement Suellen Shea said the findings from the research were a real eye opener and highlighted the importance of household planning.
“What we have discovered is many people are underestimating the ferocious nature of bushfires and as a result they aren’t putting in place the necessary preparations to ensure their survival,” Ms Shea said.
“If you live in or near bush, developing and using a bushfire survival plan is critical.
“Having a plan to follow will help you avoid last minute decisions that could cost lives.”
Ms Shea said Prepare. Act. Survive. helped people best develop a bushfire survival plan and also provided other information on how to survive a bushfire.
"The guide incorporates the latest research and information about bushfires available in Australia, and helps people to get prepared, to know when bushfires are likely to threaten and what to do when one occurs,” Ms Shea said.
“After reading the guide, the majority of research participants agreed that it was a useful resource and said they would recommend reading it to their friends and family.”
DFES Deputy Commissioner Operations Lloyd Bailey warned that summer would be tough and he urged people to help keep safe over Christmas by having a bushfire survival plan.
“This week we will see temperatures soar, which means bushfires will be more likely and more dangerous,” he said.
“If you live in a high risk area, suburban or rural, you really need to take responsibility for yourself and your family and have a bushfire survival plan.
“The plan shouldn’t be a rough idea in your mind it needs to be fully thought out, detailed and include a backup strategy in case things don’t go to plan.
“Everyone in your family should know what the plan is and what their role will be.”
Deputy Commissioner Bailey said people whose plan was to stay and protect their home and property needed to be realistic about the nature of bushfire and have adequate, functional equipment.
“Never underestimate the power of bushfire and the massive destruction it can cause,” he said.
“If your plan is to stay and actively defend, you cannot do that with a few buckets and a garden hose.
“You will need to have protective clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible, firefighting equipment and an independent water supply of at least 20,000 litres.
“Defending your home is no joke, it’s not easy and to be quite frank, unless you have the equipment and experience your safest option is to leave early.”
For information on how you can plan for the bushfire season or to download the new Prepare. Act. Survive. visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au or call 9395 9300.
ARE YOU PREPARED?
• Do you have a written bushfire survival plan?
• Have you practised your plan with your family, flatmate or neighbour?
• If your plan is to leave, do you know where you will go?
• If your plan is to stay and actively defend, do you have all the right equipment and tools?
• Do you know how to check the Fire Danger Rating for your area?
• Do you have an emergency kit?
• Do you know how to find information about a bushfire if one occurs?
• Do you know what the levels of alert in the bushfire warning system mean?