15 Smart Ways to Keep Your Property Safe From a Bushfire
With summer around the corner, we are bound to have many beautiful days filled with sunshine and warmth along with friends and family gathered around the pool or BBQ.
But an Australian summer, while beautiful, can also turn very hot and very dry, increasing the chance of bushfires. As such, it is imperative that you, your family and your property are prepared.
If you’re not prepared, this article outlines 15 changes you can make around your property to survive a bushfire. You see, a well-prepared home can also be easier to defend. So whether it’s cleaning the gutters or keeping the grass and trees trimmed, here are 15 ways to make your property safe for the bushfire season.
1. Use crushed rock or Garden pebbles around your plants
Mulch or loose-leaves can easily fuel fires. Instead, use crushed rocks or garden pebbles to cover the soil around your plants and garden.
2. Create firebreaks with tiles and pebbles
Garden edging is an excellent way to create a barrier and a defendable space in your garden. If you’re currently using timber edging around your garden beds, consider replacing it with an edging made from stone to decrease the potential for it to fuel a fire.
3. Build walkways and seating areas
Any break in your garden can reduce a potential fire. One of the ways you can break up your garden is by building walkways with stepping stones and seating areas that are paved with stones and pebbles.
4. Keep plants away from your windows
Anything natural is highly flammable, so it’s best to keep it as far away from the house and windows as possible. As such, don’t install planter boxes under your windows as these can catch fire, burn down your windows and subsequently catch your house on fire. Instead, use the width of a stone path around your house as the ideal distance to measure where to pot your plants.
5. Plant in pots
Pot plants are extremely versatile because you can easily move them to be near your property in the winter and then far away from your property and in the garden, for the summer. To protect your home during the bushfire season, consider investing in or moving your plants into pots.
6. Remove fallen leaves, twigs, and debris
Any loose fallen leaves, twigs, and debris around your property can easily catch fire and then send flying embers to light up and burn your home and surrounding objects. So it is best to clean these up and ensure that they don’t cause unnecessary damage.
7. Trim the grass, trees, and shrubs
Dry long grass, trees with long branches, and overhanging shrubs can easily catch and spread fire. Consider mowing your grass on a regular basis, and pruning your trees and shrubs to keep them 2 metres away from your home.
8. Have a long hose that reaches around your house
While this particular point is not preventative and more reactive, in the unfortunate (and hypothetical case) where part of your property catches fire, a hose that’s long enough to reach around your house can help you put out the fire quickly and easily. A long enough hose will also help you cool down the roof and the sides of your house to make them less vulnerable to incoming flames and prevent any incoming embers from turning into bigger flames.
A few things to consider is to make sure the hose is fitted with a good nozzle and doesn’t leak. If you’re getting your water from a tank, ensure the pump is in a good condition so it doesn’t break down when you use it.
9. Clean your gutters
As we mentioned in point 6, leaves, twigs, and debris easily catch on fire and spread it fast. This goes for your gutters too so make sure to remove leaves, twigs and debris from them regularly because flying embers can take a hold of them and set your roof on fire.
10. Install gutter guards and a fire sprinkler system
You can further protect your roof and the rest of your property against a bushfire by installing metal gutter guards and attaching a fire sprinkler system to your gutters.
11. Repair your roof if tiles are damaged or missing
If your roof has damaged tiles, repair or replace them. And if there are missing tiles, install new ones. This way, the roof will act as a buffer to the fire and stop it from spreading into your home. And because fire moves quickly, stalling it in any way you can gives you more time to put it out.
12. Seal gaps in walls, under the house and around doors and windows
Further protect your home from flames and embers entering it by repairing and covering gaps in external walls, enclosing gaps under your house, and fitting seals around doors/windows to completely close any openings. Remember you want to stall the fire as much as possible and taking such proactive measures may seem a lot of work now, but they will give you that extra bit of time to protect your home in case there is a fire around it.
13. Install door and window screens
You can further protect your property from bushfires by installing fine metal mesh screens on your doors and windows.
14. Store flammable items away from your house
This one seems like a common sense point, however it’s important to add because sometimes we might just overlook things – no matter how obvious they are. So ensure that you store your flammable fuels and chemicals such as painting solvents and methylated spirits in a shed outside your home. Flammable building materials like timber and other flammable items like firewood should also be safely secured away from your house. Also, when you’re not using the LPG cylinder for your BBQ, the pressure relief valve should be facing away from the house.
15. Put a Static Water Supply sign on your property entrance
If your house has a swimming pool, dam, or tank, put a Static Water Supply sign on the entrance of your property. This way, firefighters will know that they can get water from your place to put out a fire.
Protecting your home against bushfires
Bushfires are dangerous and deadly, so don’t wait until the last minute to prepare and protect your property. Use the cooler winter months to get your home prepared and get your family involved so that when summer rolls around, you can enjoy it knowing that your property is protected just in case.
If you have any questions about stone pavers, pebbles and other ways to protect your home from bushfires, please reach out to our expert team at Armstone here. We have over 10 years experience helping customers be prepared for many of life’s unexpected changes and can definitely help you too.