Fight or flight? When to protect your home or flee a fire

TRYING to protect your home from a bushfire could be a fatal mistake if your escape routes have been cut.

In catastrophic fire conditions, home defence is not an option. No property is worth your life, or the lives of your family.

But in some "extreme" situations, a planned home defence may be possible if you have the right equipment.

A defendable house should be clear of debris and vegetation for at least a 300m radius. Overhanging trees or ground fuel will create an easy path for an oncoming fire.

Ensure you have a ladder for roof access, as fires often enter homes through the roof.

First priority: Ensure the infirm, elderly or young in your charge are removed early from the property.

Seal your windows and keep furniture as far from them as possible.

Expect to go it alone when power, water and electric systems fail.

Liaise with your neighbours about your choice to leave or stay during a bushfire emergency and try to organise a community safe zone to which you can withdraw.

During the fight, you and your crew will require protective clothing, hoses, extinguishers and as much water on hand as possible.

Firefighters suggest filling wheelie bins and any other containers with water, to dampen whichever side of your home is exposed to a bushfire, or to extinguish spot fires.

Heat and smoke will make it hard to breathe and zap your stamina, so have at least one other person with you.

More information on

Topics:  bushfire storm-prep

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