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Person cleaning out roof gutters.

Overview

Bushfires are part of everyday life in rural areas of Australia. If a fire is imminent the first thing you should do is leave your property early because fires move fast, especially in windy conditions. However, this leaves you little time to protect your home. You need to be prepared, and we have some tips to help you get your home ready in case a bush fire does hit. 

Steps

1Clean gutters and install gutter guards

Clean the gutters of all leaves and sticks and put gutter guards in. If you are in a bushfire prone area use the metal type of guards. Gutter guards come in all shapes and sizes to suit your roofline. You can also fit metal screens to your windows and doors, just like a flyscreen.

2Service generators and water pumps

When a fire hits, power is often one of the first things to go out. So get your generators and water pumps ready and serviced before the fire season. Roll out your hoses, check the fittings and check there are no holes in the hoses or leads. Make sure your generator is working and you have fresh fuel with you. 

3Service power tools

Maintain your power equipment in case of an emergency. Get your chainsaws serviced, the chains sharpened and have a few chains spare.

4Clear your yard

Prepare your yard by cutting the grass and keeping it low. You can dig an area around the perimeter of your home to stop fire coming across the grass. Make sure you prune all hedges, and the gardens are nice and tidy. Clean up leaf litter and twigs around the property. Burn off any rubbish in non-fire seasons. Keep a metal bin handy and bags to keep your leaf litter in.

5Supplies you’ll need

A battery-powered radio keeps you in contact with what’s happening if you lose power or internet service. Make sure you some extra batteries available. Also have a current and loaded fire extinguisher on hand and make sure you have fresh fuel to run generators and pumps.

6Seal up gaps in your home

Ember attacks can get inside your home through any gaps you may have. Seal up any gaps around the doors or windows with a caulking gun.

7What to wear

Keep a supply of some good sturdy clothes, including leather boots and long sleeve shirts and pants.

8Clear verandas and wet down house

Move all outdoor furniture close to the house and clean up any leaf litter. Wet down around the doors and windows with a mop. Usually you only wet down when a fire is imminent, but this is also a good way of maintaining your house. If fire is imminent wet a hessian bag and put it down at the bottom of the doors. You can also use wet hessian bags to put out any spot fires

9Have a portable water supply handy

Make sure you have a portable water supply and a water backpack to spray water around the property. Backpack sprays are a good way to get at hard to reach places with some water. If you are planning to leave, it’s a good idea to damp down your property first. 

10Plug off downpipes

Prepare your roof by plugging off your down pipes. Push plugs into the downpipes and fill the gutters with water. This will help put out anything that falls on the roof. Wet down all the eves and underlining that you can get to with a hose.

11Check and maintain water sources

Make sure your other water sources like pool and dams are clean and the pumps are working on these. If a fire is coming, setup your portable pump next to one of these sources.

12Check and maintain sprinklers

If you have a sprinkler system around the house, particularly one that you’ve fitted to the roof, check that it is in good working order. Also prepare sprinklers in the garden and make sure they’re working properly.

13Things to do before you leave

If a bush fire is threatening, your best and first option is to leave. However there are a few things you can do before you go. Move any additional cars away from the house. Turn off the main gas supply.  Disconnect the BBQ gas bottle and move it away from the house. Close all the air conditioning vents and turn the system to recycled air.

14Move firewood away from the house

Any firewood stacked close to the house during winter needs to be moved away from the house during fire season.

Suggested products

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.