One of the most important decisions you need to make to protect yourself and your family is will you leave early or stay and defend a well prepared property. Properties should be well prepared for bush fire regardless of your decision. The better prepared a home is the more likely it will be to survive a bush fire and more likely it is to survive in the event that neither residents nor firefighters are available to protect them.
Remember - on a day of Catastrophic fire danger rating leaving early is the ONLY option for your survival – regardless of any plan to stay and defend. You must leave for a safer place well before a fire threatens your home.
On days of Extreme fire danger rating leaving early is always the safest option. Staying and defending can only be considered for homes that,
The following questions may help with your decision.
The Bush Fire Survival Plan details the things you need to consider and questions you need to ask yourself about you and your family when deciding whether you will leave early or stay and defend a well prepared property. It will guide you through the process of preparing your families personalised plan.
Bush fires can be chaotic, noisy and frightening experiences. You and your family should carefully weigh up the decision to stay and defend your property against fire, or leave early and relocate to safety. It is vital for each family to make this decision based on their own personal circumstances. Whatever you decide plan for it before the bush fire danger period begins.
Once you have completed your Bush Fire Survival Plan, practice it regularly and keep it in a safe place that is easily accessible for quick reference.
Thinking 'I will leave early" is not enough. You must PREPARE to ACT and SURVIVE.
Leaving early means WELL BEFORE A BUSH FIRE THREATENS.
For more details go to our Guide to "Leave Early".
You can not just stay and defend without careful planning and preparation, you must PREPARE to ACT and SURVIVE.
If you plan to stay and defend you need to be physically fit, psychologically prepared and understand the risks involved.
For more details go to our Guide to “STAY AND DEFEND”.
Research and scientific testing into vehicle survivability in bush fires has shown that sheltering inside a vehicle is a high risk strategy and it is highly unlikely that a person will survive in such circumstances.
Whilst sheltering inside a vehicle offers you a slightly higher chance of survival than being caught in the open, having a leave early or stay and defend strategy is a much safer option.
You should never take a journey into areas where the fire danger is catastrophic or extreme. You should consider postponing or finding alternative safe routes if necessary. If smoke is in the distance, or you can smell in the air it is best to u-turn and drive away from the danger.
If you are confronted with smoke or flames while on the road STOP as soon as it is safe to do so and immediately turn on the vehicle’s headlights and hazard warning lights. If you do need to shelter in your vehicle drive your car into a bare, clear area well away from surrounding trees, leaving your headlights and hazard lights on. Turn off the ignition, close all windows and vents then cover yourself with woollen or cotton blankets to protect from the radiant heat and take shelter below the window level. Drink water frequently and stay in the vehicle until the fire front has passed. Once the fire front has passed exit the vehicle to inspect the damage and ensure other passengers are safe.