After last Summer's tragic fire season we thought it would be a good idea to revisit fire safety early this year.
Fire safety is something everyone should know, no matter your age or where you live, we cannot stress enough the importance of a 5 minute chat with your family to start your fire safety plan. Following basic guidelines and common sense when it comes to fires is essential to remaining calm. If you know what to do next, you can act fast and even save lives.
As Campers, it is essential that we understand the risk of bushfires and to be responsible when heading into our national parks during fire season. According to the CFA "The Fire Danger Period may be declared as early as October in some municipalities, and typically remains in place until the fire danger lessens, which could be as late as May".
Travel safely during Fire Season.
As it is popular to travel, camp and caravan during summer in Australia, there is a chance you may be affected by fire during your travels. We have done some research to find helpful tips on how to be fire ready on your next holiday.
1.Check risks before you leave.
Before leaving home for a long drive or camping during fire season, check the fire risks of the area you are entering. Being aware of the fire risk in the region you are travelling can ultimately save lives. If the fire risk rating is very high, then you should be considering an alternative location or wait till it is safer to travel.
There are many ways to check specific fire regions. Each state has their own website and app with warnings and fire conditions that will give you the necessary advice before you leave your home.
2.Apps and contacts for fire safety warnings:
Plan your trip, know where you are going and check the fire warnings and Incidents websites. They will also include planned burning.
Each state has a website, and there is also an app for all of Australia.
Download the app: FiresNearMe Aus
The FiresNearMe APP covers all fires in Australia and can detect your location to specify fires in your region. It lists the type of fire, status, location, and time of the last update.
You can always call the Bushfire hotlines to confirm any warning.
Save these in your phone:
If you have young children, it is a great idea to show them how to call triple Zero in case of an emergency. Write down your location and phone number onto something they can read and access easily. It's also good practice to show them what to do if caught in a fire such a using a fire blanket. Kids are very visual and will remember better if shown or have done the activity before.
3.Fire Danger Ratings:
It is essential to understand the fire danger ratings to know the situation for that region. Most, if not all, Australian towns will have a fire rating sign while entering the township, such as the image below. These are updated by the local fire brigade daily or as necessary, especially during fire season.
Regardless of whether you think the fire conditions are low, it is best to check the appropriate sites for the fire region and also check the weather forecast sites such as http://www.bom.gov.au (The Bureau of Meteorology).
We all know in Victoria how quickly the weather can change, and wind can turn a moderate situation into a severe one in seconds. Bush Fires are unpredictable, and it is paramount that you are aware, have mobile alerts set up and be fire safe when camping or travelling during fire season.
4.What to Pack:
It is best not to travel to remote areas on total fire ban days. Lack of reception/communication can be dangerous. Despite travelling in high-risk areas, you should always be fire ready by packing smart.
Here's what you should include:
5.If in Danger:
The most important thing to know is if you have any concerns about fire danger, stay home or leave early. Have a 5-minute chat with the family on the drive and have a fire plan in place, talk about hypotheticals and come up with solutions. In a fire situation, all plans may go out the window, but at least the more prepared you are the calmer you will feel. Keeping calm will help you make the right decisions, save your energy and help you breathe.
If you see smoke, remain calm, leave the area immediately by driving away from the fire. Do NOT wait to see what happens. If visibility is affected by smoke, slow down and be aware of where the road is, be cautious of people, vehicles and livestock or wild animals that might be on the road. Turn your headlights on and have the car windows and vents closed.
If you are stuck in a fire-affected area, call Triple Zero. 000.
Advice from the NSW Fire Service Advises to:
6.Avoid unnecessary fire danger:
Take all fire warnings and ratings seriously. Be responsible with campsite fires and gas burners. There are no exceptions to the rules when it comes to fire regulations.
To avoid unnecessary fire dangers, remember:
Read more about fire safety here:
7.Printable Bushfire Safety Brochures
Fire safety for travellers Brochure
Caravan and camping bushfire brochure
What to pack in your Emergency Kit
The team at StoreMyCaravan hope you have a safe summer this year. Look-out for each other, camp safe and have fun!