Prepare now for a high-risk bushfire season
Perth, WA (13 September 2017) The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) forecasts a high bushfire risk for parts of Western Australia[i] this season, and homeowners should take steps now to protect themselves, according to Craig Abbott, General Manager of leading property firm Raine & Horne
Dry autumn weather and increased fuel loads, such as tinder-dry grasses and leaf litter, mean the fire risk is high throughout the state. The threat is greatest in the South West region, western parts of the Great Southern region, south-eastern coastal parts of the Goldfields Midlands, and parts of the Pilbara and northern Midwest Gascoyne, according to the DFES warning.
“There is very little we can do about our harsh summer climate, but there is plenty we can do to ensure our homes are safe and fully insured this bushfire season, whether we live in a leafy suburb or on the fringe of a national park,” said Mr Abbott.
- Make sure your hose works
A garden hose that extends to the boundary of your property is a must for helping to protect your home this summer, advised Mr Abbott.
“Ensure all hoses and tap fittings are in good working order. There is nothing worse than facing up to a raging bushfire with a defective hose or one that isn’t long enough to reach the blaze.”
- Remove possible bushfire fuels
Newspapers and cardboard are highly combustible, so make sure your recycling is securely contained if a bushfire threatens your area.
“Remove flammable liquids or paints, too, as they will feed the fire,” said Mr Abbott.
“Gas bottles used to fuel barbecues and outdoor lighting should be stored in a fire-safe place, and steer clear of using a barbecue in blustery bushfire conditions.”
- Tidy up garden waste
Be sure to clean out your roof gutters, which collect leaves and other garden refuse, said Mr Abbott. “Garden waste is extremely flammable when it dries out, and it can be set ablaze by flying embers,” he said.
“If you have a woodpile left over from winter, locate it well away from the house, as it’s a hazardous stimulant for a bushfire.
“Trees with drooping branches are another potential fire risk. If you can’t trim the trees yourself, get a gardener or arborist to do it.”
It also pays to keep the lawn clipped and rake up any leaf piles. Dead leaves represent a major hazard should a bushfire explode in your neighbourhood.
- Neighbourhood watch
Share tips about protecting property from bushfire with your neighbours so that they’re also well prepared for the warmer months.
“Don’t be afraid to talk to your neighbours about their firefighting plans and precautions, as you may find yourselves in the firing line together,” said Mr Abbott.
“If there is bushland nearby, contact your local council to make sure there is a firebreak cleared or maintained to help protect local properties.”
- Check your insurance coverage
Cover for fire is standard in most home and contents insurance policies, however natural disasters such as bushfires may not be insured.
“Usually, bushfires are addressed under the natural disaster section of your insurance policy. You can find this information in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) that was issued by your insurer when you purchased the cover,” said Dawn Inanli, General Manager, Financial Services, Raine & Horne Group and mortgage group Our Broker.
“In Western Australia, you can expect to pay $1,000 to $1,350 for home and contents insurance, which is money well spent if you make sure it covers you for the risk of bushfires this summer.
Typically, budget home and contents policies won’t always cover bushfire and flood, noted Ms Inanli.
“To ensure your home and contents are protected appropriately this summer, contact a financial specialist from Raine & Horne Assist on 1800 960 230.”