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go early

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go early

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									  GO EARLY

prepare
    go early




     A bush fire information
     checklist and action plan
     to help you
     Prepare to Go Early
prepare
                                                                             P R E P A R E… G O E A R LY                              1




                                                                                             Prepare…
                                                                                             Go Early
Disclaimer                                                                                   You have decided to relocate from your
The information contained in this publication is provided voluntarily as
a public service by the Australian Capital Territory Rural Fire Service                      home in the event of a bush fire.
(ACT RFS) and the Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western
Australia (FESA). This publication has been prepared in good faith                           To ensure you do so safely you must
and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the
time of publication. Nevertheless, the reliability and accuracy of the                       GO EARLY.
information cannot be guaranteed and ACT RFS and FESA expressly
disclaim liability for any act or omission done or not done in reliance on
                                                                                             To further ensure your safety it is
the information and for any consequences whether direct or indirect,
arising from such act or omission.                                                           strongly recommended you undertake
This publication is intended to be a guide only and readers should
obtain their own independent advice and make their own necessary                             the following actions.
inquiries.
2                                                                  P R E P A R E… G O E A R LY                                           3

                                                                   ■ What will I take?
At the start of the                                                    Take a prepared ‘Emergency Kit’ (see page 4 for details),
bush fire season                                                        your family and pets. You may also want to take special
                                                                       photos, keepsakes or memorabilia that are easy to carry
Prepare your Bush Fire Action Plan                                     and will fit into your vehicle. You may be away from your
                                                                       home for an extended period of time, so take spare clothes
Write a plan to relocate. Ensure the whole family
                                                                       and personal items with you. Please note that pets are not
understands and has agreed to the Action Plan. In                      allowed at public evacuation centres.
planning your safe relocation, you will need to ask
                                                                   ■ How will I get there?
yourself the following questions:                                      If you are using your own vehicle, make sure it has enough
                                                                       fuel and is mechanically sound to ensure a safe journey.
                                                                       Become familiar with the best route to your chosen location,
                                                                       and have an alternative route should roads become closed.
                                                                       Plan who will collect you if you do not have your own means
                                                                       of transport. Plan to go early to avoid getting trapped in your
                                                                       vehicle by the bush fire.

                                                                   ■ What will I do with pets/livestock?
                                                                       If you have livestock that can be moved out of the area,
                                                                       allow yourself plenty of time to do so. Evacuating late is a
                                                                       deadly option as visibility is reduced and travel becomes
                                                                       hazardous. If possible move larger animals to a paddock
■ Go Early: When will I go?                                            with little vegetation – before the bush fire season you may
    On high fire risk days, you need to keep alert and informed         consider slashing and then maintaining a paddock to create
    about any fires in the area. Regular updates are broadcast          a “safe” area. Never turn animals out onto the road to run
    on ABC Radio. In the event of a bush fire, it is important to       free. This is dangerous for fire trucks and vehicles on the
    go before the fire reduces visibility and roads are closed.         road and you may be legally responsible if they are the cause
    Leaving in smoky conditions is leaving too late – driving          of an accident.
    through thick smoke is dangerous. Decide what your trigger
    to go will be. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

■ Where will I go?
    Determine well in advance where you will go to. Contact your
    Local Government to find out if there is a designated public
    evacuation centre in your community. Alternatively, you may
    decide to stay with a well-prepared neighbour or relocate to
    family or friends who are away from the fire.
4                                                                  P R E P A R E… G O E A R LY                                           5

     You should plan to take domestic pets with you if possible.   Review your insurance cover
     Have cat baskets, cages and leads ready to safely transport
                                                                   Ensure your home and contents insurance cover is adequate.
     your pets. You cannot take pets into a public evacuation
                                                                   Regularly review your cover to take into consideration renovations,
     centre so appropriate provisions will need to be made for
                                                                   fixtures and additions such as swimming pools, sheds, gazebos,
     them.
                                                                   luxury fittings or new appliances.
■ What to do if family members are separated
                                                                   Have emergency telephone numbers ready
     A bush fire may occur while your children are at school or
                                                                   Have telephone numbers that you might need close at hand.
     family members at work. Plan what you will do in these
                                                                   Include emergency services, your Local Government, police,
     circumstances – find out what the school’s policy is if bush
                                                                   neighbours, and close friends and relatives.
     fire threatens.
                                                                   Consider what you would do if you cannot go
Prepare an Emergency Kit
                                                                   You may find yourself in a situation that makes it difficult for you
It is recommended that you prepare an emergency kit which
                                                                   to go as planned and instead you must stay. How will you deal
contains the following:
                                                                   with this situation? It is strongly recommended that you have
For the family:                                                    a backup plan to help you deal with this situation as safely as
                                                                   possible. Please refer to the Stay and Defend information.
• Battery powered AM/FM radio plus spare batteries
• A torch                                                          Prepare your Home
• Woollen blankets                                                 Even if you have decided to go early in the event of a fire,
• First aid kit                                                    reducing the fire risks around your home may reduce damage
                                                                   from the fire.
• Insurance papers and personal documents such as wills,
  financial papers and passports                                    Refer to the Preparation Action Checklist on page 9.

• Photos
• Can opener
• On the day – add money/credit cards, medications, drinking
  water and food for 24 hours.

For your pets:
• Basket/cage/leash
• Dish for water
• Pet food
• On the day – add any medications and drinking water.
6                                                                   P R E P A R E… G O E A R LY                                          7

                                                                    ■ Remove flammable materials
On the day a                                                            from around your home
bush fire threatens                                                      If there is time to do so before you go, remove material that
                                                                        is likely to burn from around your house – items such as
■ Keep up to date with information                                      mats, outdoor furniture, hanging baskets, paper and boxes.
    Information on bush fires is available by calling Canberra           Place them inside the house or shed.
    Connect on 13 22 81 or visiting the ACT RFS website at
    www.rfs.act.gov.au You should also listen to the radio for
    regular updates. For major bush fires threatening lives or
    property, ABC Radio will broadcast regular updates on the
    fire.




                                                                    ■ Wear protective clothing
                                                                        Ensure all family members are wearing protective
                                                                        clothing – long pants (jeans), long-sleeved shirt and sturdy
                                                                        footwear. Clothing should be made from pure wool, cotton or
                                                                        denim. Clothing made of synthetic fibres is not suitable.

■ Move livestock/locate pets                                        ■ Secure your home
    Move large animals as planned in your Bush Fire Action              Prior to leaving, make sure all windows and doors are closed
    Plan. If relocating animals such as horses to another area,         to reduce the risk of embers getting into your home. Don’t
    do so early. Locate and secure pets early in readiness to go        forget to lock your home (including garage and sheds)
    with you.                                                           securely before you go.

■ Emergency Kit
    Load your emergency kit into your car in preparation for your
    departure.

■ Personal items
                                                                    ■ Keep in touch and informed
    In some circumstances, it may not be possible for you to
                                                                        Before you go, let someone know of your intention to relocate,
    return home for some time. Pack and take with you personal
                                                                        where you will be going and how you plan to get there. You
    items such as a change of clothing for all family members,
                                                                        may also wish to inform them of your safe arrival once you
    toiletries and towels, pillows and blankets, cash and credit
                                                                        have reached your chosen destination. Take your mobile
    cards, medication, mobile phone and charger, some food,
                                                                        phone with emergency numbers and keep informed by
    and toys for children.
                                                                        listening to your radio.
8                                                                 P R E P A R E… G O E A R LY                                          9


Returning home after the fire                                      Prepare… Go Early
Following a bush fire, it may take several hours to clear
roads of fallen trees, power poles and wires, and to              Preparation Action Checklist
restore services such as power supplies. Access to some           You have chosen to Go Early. To reduce the risk to your
areas may be restricted and you may not be able to                home, it is strongly recommended that this level of
return home for some time or until the following day.             preparation be maintained throughout the bush fire
Listen to your radio or check with the relevant fire service       season.
agencies or local police to determine when it is safe to return
home.                                                             ❑ Have a Bush Fire Action Plan for your family
Disaster and Emergency Support Services may be available to
                                                                      (refer to page 13).
you following a major bush fire. Please contact ACT Community      ❑ Identify the potential fire risks around your home.
Recovery (13 22 81) for further information.
                                                                      Walk around your property and imagine a bush fire is
                                                                      approaching. Identify any item that is likely to burn or where
                                                                      embers are likely to enter and start a fire. For example, gaps
                                                                      in the structure, underfloor spaces, external vents, skylights,
                                                                      evaporative air conditioners and chimneys. Take action to
                                                                      reduce the risk embers pose, for example, use metal mesh
                                                                      and wire flyscreens where appropriate and close in spaces
                                                                      under the eaves.

                                                                  ❑ Create a 20 metre circle of safety
                                                                      around your home (a defendable space).
10                                                                  P R E P A R E… G O E A R LY                                      11

     Clear all rubbish, dry timber, piles of wood and any other     ❑ Check the condition of your roof covering.
     material that will burn easily from around your home to a
                                                                        Replace any damaged or missing roof tiles and make sure
     distance of at least 20 metres away. Keep this area clear
                                                                        there are no openings where sparks or embers could get in.
     throughout the bush fire season. If you have trees within
     this space, please ensure there is a minimum 2 metre gap       ❑ Remove and store any fuel supplies and
     between the trees and the house.                                   chemicals away from the house.
❑ Ensure you have complied with your local                          ❑ Locate LP gas cylinders on the side of the house
     government’s fire break requirements.                               that is furthest away from the likely direction of
                                                                        bush fires.
❑ Keep gutters leaf-free.
                                                                        Make sure the pressure relief valve is directed away from the
                                                                        house and that there is no flammable material in front of the
                                                                        valve for at least six metres. Set the cylinders on a concrete
                                                                        or brick base and fix them to a strong support.




                                                                    ❑ Plan what you will do with pets and livestock
                                                                        in the case of a bush fire.
                                                                        Your animals will need water, shade and a refuge from the
                                                                        fire.
❑ Regularly rake up, dig in or pick up
     dead leaves and litter.                                        ❑ Review your insurance cover.
     Trees can catch fire because dead leaves, loose bark and        ❑ Prepare an emergency kit (refer to page 4).
     litter under them are burning. On windy days, notice where
     leaves gather – this is where embers are also likely to land
     during a bush fire.
12                                                                  P R E P A R E… G O E A R LY                           13

❑ Have protective clothing for the whole family
     close at hand.                                                 Bush Fire Action Plan
                                                                    Planning to Go Early




❑ Know where to access information on high risk
                                                                           Remember:
     bush fire days – keep contacts such as:                         ■ Go before fire threatens your immediate area.
     • Canberra Connect
        13 22 81                                                    ■ Leaving your home when thick smoke and flames
                                                                        are visible is a deadly option.
     • ACT RFS website
        www.rfs.act.gov.au                                          ■ Even if it is your intention to Go Early, you
     • ABC Radio                                                        should still prepare a backup plan in case your
     • Neighbours                                                       circumstances change and you have to take
                                                                        shelter in your own home. (See the Stay and
     • Consider joining your local volunteer brigade. Contact the
                                                                        Defend information)
       Rural Fire Service (RFS) for more information.
                                                                    The Plan:
                                                                    ■ Should consider every member of the family.
                                                                    ■ Should include decisions and actions that will
                                                                        allow you and your family to relocate safely.
14                                                        P R E P A R E… G O E A R LY                                        15

                                                          What will you take with you? (emergency kit, personal documents,
Bush Fire Action Plan                                     personal items, medications and mobile phone).
                                                          ...................................................
Planning to Go Early                                      ...................................................
This Bush Fire Action Plan is for the following people:
                                                          ...................................................
(list all household members).
                                                          ...................................................
...................................................
                                                          ...................................................
...................................................
                                                          ...................................................
...................................................
                                                          ...................................................
...................................................
...................................................       How will you get to your chosen location?

...................................................       ...................................................

...................................................       ...................................................

...................................................       ...................................................

...................................................       ...................................................

...................................................       ...................................................

What will be your trigger to Go Early?                    What will you do with your pets and/or livestock?

...................................................       ...................................................

...................................................       ...................................................

...................................................       ...................................................

...................................................       ...................................................

...................................................       ...................................................

Where will you and your family go?                        What action do you need to take if some family members are at
                                                          school or work?
...................................................
                                                          ...................................................
...................................................
                                                          ...................................................
...................................................
                                                          ...................................................
...................................................
                                                          ...................................................
...................................................
                                                          ...................................................
16

Who have you told about your Bush Fire Action Plan                                                                            On the day a bushfire threatens:
and your intention to go?                                              Go Early                                               ❑ Keep updated with bush fire information.
...................................................
                                                                                                                              ❑ Move livestock/locate and secure pets.
...................................................                    Action Checklist
                                                                                                                              ❑ Load your Emergency Kit including drinking
...................................................                    At the start of the bush fire season:                       water, food and medications into your car.
...................................................                    ❑ Complete tasks as listed on the Preparation          ❑ Pack personal items such as a change of clothing
...................................................                        Action Checklist.
                                                                                                                                  for all family members, cash and credit cards,
                                                                       ❑ Prepare a plan to “Go Early” that the whole family       medication, mobile phone, some food and toys for
List any actions that you will need to take that are specific to your
                                                                           has agreed on (Bush Fire Action Plan).                 the children.
household (that may not be outlined in the Go Early Checklist).
...................................................                    ❑ Prepare an Emergency Kit to take with you.           ❑ Remove any materials that could burn easily
                                                                                                                                  from around the house, on decks, verandas or
...................................................                    ❑ Review your insurance cover – update if necessary.
                                                                                                                                  around pergola areas. This includes mats, outdoor
...................................................                    ❑ Have emergency phone numbers ready.                      furniture and wood pile.
...................................................                    ❑ Consider what you would do if you cannot go          ❑ Ensure everyone in the family is wearing
...................................................                        (have a backup plan).                                  protective clothing – long pants, long-sleeved
                                                                                                                                  shirt, sturdy shoes.
...................................................
...................................................
                                                                                                                              ❑ Ensure all windows and doors are closed.
...................................................                                                                           ❑ Turn off the mains gas supply to the house and
                                                                                                                                  any LP gas cylinders.
...................................................
                                                                                                                              ❑ Don’t forget to lock your home (including sheds
...................................................
                                                                                                                                  and garage) securely before you go.
Who will you call when you arrive at your chosen location?                                                                    ❑ Let someone know where you are going, when you
...................................................                                                                               are going and how you will get there.
...................................................                                                                           ❑ Go early – what is your trigger to go NOW?
...................................................
                                                                                                                              Returning Home
...................................................




                                                                       prepare
                                                                                                                              ❑ Check with fire service agencies or local police
...................................................                                                                               before attempting to return to your home. Roads
...................................................                                                                               may be closed for some time while the area is
...................................................
                                                                                                                                  made safe.

...................................................
A.C.T. Rural Fire Service
4 Point Cook Avenue, Fairbairn, ACT
P.O. Box 104, Curtin, ACT 2605
Telephone: (02) 6207 8609
Facsimile: (02) 6207 8743
Website: www.rfs.act.gov.au
Published: November 2006
Upon request, this information can be made available in alternative
formats such as large type, audio tape, Braille or another language.
The Australian Capital Territory Rural Fire Service (ACT RFS) wishes to
thank the Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia
(FESA) for the use of the Bush Fire Stay Or Go Kit materials, and the
Country Fire Authority of Victoria (CFA) for allowing reproduction from
the document Living in the Bush—bushfire survival plan workbook.

								
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