As published in The Advertiser’s Boomer lift-out on Monday 20 January.

Like me, I’m sure many of you have been watching the bushfire crisis unfold around Australia with a sense of horror and helplessness – and we are only in the middle of the fire season.

For those of us living in high risk areas, it has been a timely reminder of the need for a bushfire plan and being prepared to enact it if need be. Knowing well ahead of time what you will do in the event of a fire or on a day where there is a high Fire Danger Rating can be critical to survival.

This can be particularly important for those with mobility challenges, as well as for carers and family visiting these areas to check on loved ones over summer.

Visit the CFS website to develop a plan tailored to your needs and location. Their 5-Minute Bushfire Plan is straightforward to complete and can be printed, saved to your phone or shared via email with family, friends and neighbours.

Here are some other useful tips that can help to keep you and your property safe:

  • Stay informed about weather conditions and fire ratings – ratings are released by the CFS and Bureau of Meteorology in the afternoons during the fire season.
  • Use multiple sources to monitor information about bushfires – check the CFS website or its social media channels on Facebook or Twitter, listen to ABC local radio (891 AM) or follow other reliable news sources to keep up to date.
  • Clear your property of all long grass and debris, have your gutters cleaned and consider having an inspection done on your roof to ensure water can flow freely.
  • Prepare an emergency kit with a water bottle, flashlight, mobile phone charger, spare batteries, snacks, pet food and a copy of your plan.

Preparation and forethought is key during bushfire season. Consider your plan now to avoid panic and confusion in the event of a fire emergency.

Mel Ottaway
Executive Manager, Services for Older People