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Act During a Bushfire

Bushfires can start suddenly so you need to be prepared to act even if you do not get a warning. Most people wait to be told what to do, expecting a firefighter to knock on their door to tell them to leave this is highly unlikely to happen. Do not wait for a warning before acting.

Not hearing or seeing warning information does not mean there is no threat.

You should watch for signs of a bushfire, especially smoke and flames. Bushfires can move very quickly and there may not be time for a warning to be issued. You need to put your preparations into action immediately, do not wait and see.

During hot weather you should know the Fire Danger Rating (FDR) for your area so you can act to make sure you survive. The FDR tells you what type of fire weather is forecast and the risk from a fire if one starts. It tells you what the fire conditions will be like and what you should do.


Know your trigger

It is important that you use triggers that cause you to act even before a fire starts. Finding out tomorrow’s Fire Danger Rating (FDR) is the best trigger and should be the first step in activating your bushfire survival plan, whether you plan to leave for a safer place or stay and actively defend.

Act decisively once bad fire weather is forecast. You should put your preparations into action the night before or early in the day when the rating is very high or above.

Your plan should consider if your actions will change at different FDR categories and be based on a series of triggers. Your trigger may be different to your neighbour as it needs to work for you and your family's situation.

If you are planning to stay and actively defend, it is a good idea to check water pumps and generators to make sure they work and prepare protective clothing in case you need it quickly.

You will need to be ready to act quickly once a fire starts, and should have your bushfire survival plan and emergency kit ready.

Keep up to date by monitoring your surroundings, speaking with neighbours and via radio, the Internet, and information lines so you can take action immediately.

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Know what the Fire Danger Rating means

Only a house prepared to the highest level and actively defended may offer any safety up to an extreme Fire Danger Rating (FDR) category. This means your home needs to have been constructed to bushfire protection levels, this includes; enclosed eaves, covers over external air conditioners and metal flyscreens.

The higher the FDR rating the less chance your home can protect you. If you are not prepared to the highest level, leaving bushfire risk areas the night before or early in the day is your safest option.

If a catastrophic FDR has been forecast your home is not designed or constructed to survive fires in these conditions. This is why your best chance for survival is to leave.

FDR’s are published on the Bureau of Meteorology website, on the DFES website and recorded information line and throughout media weather and news channels.

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Stay Alert

On hot dry days when bushfires are possible it is likely you will be inside with the curtains and blinds closed, and the air conditioner on. A fire could be coming to your home very quickly and you will not even know.

You need to stay alert on these days and look for information, regularly going outside to check for signs of bushfire. Be ready to act without an official warning. Do not wait and see – this can be deadly.

Quick tips:

  • Know the Fire Danger Rating for your area
  • Put your preparations into action the night before or early in the day if bad fire weather is forecast, do not wait and see
  • Have your bushfire survival plan and emergency kit ready
  • Stay alert and monitor your surroundings by watching for signs of a bushfire, especially smoke and flames
  • Look and listen for information on television, radio, the internet, information lines and speak with your neighbours
  • Know what the levels of alert in the bushfire warning system mean

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