If you live in an area that is prone to bushfires you need to decide whether you will leave early or stay and defend your home when a bushfire threatens. The most important thing to think about when you are deciding this is your safety. Always put your safety first.
Do not stay and defend your home if:
You are not physically, mentally and emotionally prepared
The Fire Danger Rating is Catastrophic
The Fire Danger Level is Extreme: it is only safe to stay and defend your home in this case if you are highly prepared and your home is specially designed to withstand a fire.
You have not already prepared your property or yourself to offer the best protection.
There are vulnerable people in your home such as children, elderly or disabled. Your first priority is to get everyone to safety.
Your house is not designed to withstand a fire. If your home is surrounded by vegetation, or the location and construction is weak to bushfire threats it is not safe for you to defend your home and you need to leave early. The NSW RFS has a Bush Fire Household Assessment Tool that you can use to help assess your home’s level of risk.
Conditions are against you: some days are simply not safe for people to defend their properties. Listen to advice from the fire and emergency services.
Note: Your family may be put at risk of injury or death if you choose to stay and defend your home.
If you choose to protect your home you need to make sure you have the clothing that will protect you from smoke inhalation, floating embers and intense heat. You should also make sure you have an emergency survival kit with a complete first aid kit included. For information about how to treat smoke inhalation and burns see our ‘Fire First Aid Tips’ article.
For a ‘Stay and Defend Checklist’ and more information about defending your property read the ‘Staying and Defending’ guidelines published by the NSW RFS. Image by Michael Fernando.