An Aussie summer is the dream vacation for holidaymakers across the globe. Endless stretches of beach, unique marine life and surf culture charms millions of tourists every year. But for residents, the arrival of summer can be unnerving as fire season draws closer and bushfire preparation becomes front-of-mind. Over the last few years, fires have spread at intense rates, displacing homeowners and obliterating anything in its path.
We all know how deadly bushfires are and can be, especially with last year’s crisis. But one persistent issue is that so many of us don’t think it will happen to us and fail to prepare amply each year. While there are elements of a bushfire that you can’t control – like weather conditions – planning and preparing your home for a bushfire can radically increase the chances of your family and home surviving, as well as minimising the financial implications.
Maintenance tips for bushfire preparation
Property maintenance can make it easier for your family or firefighters to defend your home. A well-prepared home can also give you extra protection if a fire progresses suddenly and you cannot leave your property. Some helpful tips include:
- Clear your gutters: Ridding your gutters and front of house of leaves and twigs, as well as installing metal gutter guards, can provide extra protection.
- Eliminate gaps in your home: Gaps can provide a pathway for the fire to get into your home. You should fix any damaged or missing roof tiles, as well as seal any doors, windows or walls to eliminate gaps and cracks.
- Install a sprinkler system: Attaching a fire sprinkler system to your gutters can prevent them setting alight.
- Garden maintenance: Your lawns should be short, trees cut back, and overhanging shrubs be chopped. Be sure to clean up any fallen leaves, twigs and debris around the property – and keep flammable items like wood piles, flammable liquids and even mulch away from your home.
- Water access: Make sure you have a hose long enough to stretch around the perimeter of your home. If you have a pool, tank or dam, put a Static Water Supply (SWS) sign on your property entrance, so that firefighters know where they can access water.
Check your insurance policies in advance
In the run-up to bushfire season, insurance and policies are key to grasp.
It’s a good time to review your home and contents insurance to give you peace of mind that you’re adequately covered in case of an emergency. Potential damages and losses resulting from bushfires might be recoverable depending on the extent of your cover. Make sure you fully understand what coverage you have – including your sum insured and any exclusions.
Take some time now to collect your insurance inventory; take videos and photos of your property and contents. Make sure that you save all of this information and evidence somewhere safe and accessible. We can even help you calculate the value of your assets to make sure you’re not underinsured.
There are various simple planning steps that can help you prepare during bushfire season. You should know what to do, where to go and what to take and where to go in the event of a forest fire. Red Cross Australia identifies four key steps to preparing for a bushfire emergency:
- Know: Always be in the know about bushfire risk and make sure that you keep up with alerts. In an emergency, situations can change quickly, so make sure that you’re always up to date with the most current information from trusted sources.
- Connect: Make sure that you know who to contact and find in the event of a bushfire emergency. You should swap phone numbers with a neighbour and other local contacts, as well as following your local area on social media to connect with your community.
- Organise: Organise, store and save important documents. This can make evacuation a lot quicker, simpler and safer for your family. You should be able to access your important documents, such as identification and property ownership proof.
- Pack: Make sure you are packed and ready to go at any point. As already emphasised, bushfires can escalate quicky without remorse. Pack important documents, items you’ll need to survive a bushfire and items precious to you or important to your recovery.
Having the right insurance is no accident
At Allsure Insurance, we believe that having the right insurance is no accident – and bushfire preparation is no different. We can help to make sure you’ve got the best policies available to you in place, and help you calculate the value of your assets to ensure you have the right level of cover should the unthinkable happen to you. Contact us today to find out more.
General advice warning
The information above may be regarded as general advice. That is, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information.
Accordingly, you should consider the appropriateness of any general advice we have given you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. Where the information relates to a particular financial product, you should obtain and consider the relevant product disclosure statement before making any decision to purchase that financial product.