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How to prepare and protect your home from a bushfire

By Kevin Kelly

Is your home bushfire prepared? For many owners of real estate in Bunbury, the events that took place on March 10 made them realise the answer was "no". A bushfire trampled its way through Picton and nearby suburbs, damaging a home and forcing the evacuation of several residents. With flames reportedly reaching 10 to 15 metres in height, it was a scary situation residents in potentially risky areas ought to prepare for.

What can you do to ready your home for the possibility of a bushfire?

Physically prepare the property

During a bushfire, firefighting services will be inundated with calls – it's very possible they won't be able to tend to your property. It's important, then, that you take responsibility for preparing your property for the worst.

Landing embers can spark a fire on your property, even if the bushfire itself is some distance from your home. As such, you want your home to be as free from flammable materials as possible. In the recent fire, a resident of Vittoria Heights had an ember sucked into their air conditioning system, which ended up damaging two rooms of their house. The following is a list of some things the Fire and Emergency Department recommends you do with your home:

  • Clean gutters of dry leaves and install gutter guards;
  • Keep your lawns short and gardens maintained;
  • Check gas release valves face away from the home;
  • Remove shrubs that touch the house;
  • Remove flammable material from around the house;
  • Install a fire/heat radiant shield like a solid fence

You can find the full checklist in the Department's "Are you bushfire ready" pamphlet or on their website.

Have a plan in place

You also need to plan for the possibility of leaving. If a bushfire gets too close, sometimes there is simply nothing you can do but escape with your health. The WA government's Department of Fire & Emergency Services has a bushfire warning system, similar to the one used in a cyclone. There are three stages:

  1. Advice – a fire has started but there's no immediate danger;
  2. Watch and act – a fire is approaching and out of control, so it's time to put your plan into action;
  3. Emergency warning – an out of control fire is approaching fast. If your home isn't prepared, it's too late. You must immediately leave if it's safe to do so.

Planning where you'll go and the route you'll take to get there beforehand is advised. That way you can be sure it's a decision made when you're in a rational state of mind, not the panic of an advancing fire.

Protecting your real estate is possible when you engage in the proper planning procedures. For everything else real estate related, get in touch with the team at Ray White Bunbury today.

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