Preparing Yourself

Bushfire Survival Plan

Download a copy of the CFS Fact Sheet(PDF, 107KB) on preparing yourself for bushfires.

By now you should have prepared your home and property in case of a fire by slashing long grass, removing excess material, cutting back overhanging trees and cleaning gutters. This will give your house a better chance of surviving a fire front, ember attack and radiant heat.

If you live in a bushfire prone area you must have a Bushfire Survival Plan. Your Plan will help you take action and avoid making last minute decisions that could prove deadly during a bushfire. Even the best prepared home is not designed or constructed to withstand fires under catastrophic fire conditions.

Making a choice when a bushfire threatens is too late. The majority of people who die in bushfires die fleeing their homes at the last moment. 'Leave late' is a deadly option. You should plan to leave early if you have any doubts about your ability to stay and defend your property.

Only consider staying if your home can be defended and you are physically and mentally able to defend it, and in any case have a well written and practised Bushfire Survival Plan.

A written and practised Plan helps reduce confusion, panic and time-wasting.

Preparing yourself and your property to survive a bushfire requires thought and planning. With a written and practised Bushfire Survival Plan and a well-maintained home there is a much better chance of surviving a bushfire. Your Bushfire Survival Plan also needs to consider how you and your family will be affected – both physically and emotionally.

Emotional preparation is just as important as physical preparation.

Preparing yourself psychologically or emotionally to cope with a bushfire is as important as the preparation of your home and surroundings.

Although every individual will cope differently with a frightening event, there are strategies that can be used to better prepare so that you can resist the natural reaction to panic. Being psychologically prepared may also help you to adjust better following the event, and reduce the psychological distress and longer-term mental health consequences that may be caused by a bushfire.

It is essential to think beforehand about how you, your family and neighbours will react during a bushfire threat. You can develop a plan for preparing, psychologically and physically, by talking with your family and neighbours and people whom have experienced a bushfire.

Developing a Bushfire Survival Plan will help you to make the important decision of whether you want to stay and actively defend your home or leave early. Both options involve difficult choices that you need to think through depending on your circumstances and the predicted fire conditions.

Think about what you might feel and what you are willing to deal with. Think about other fearful situations you have been through and how you managed. During a bushfire you need to be focused on the immediate problem, not trying to do everything at once.

Be prepared emotionally and physically. Know and practise your Bushfire Survival Plan so that you and your family can follow it, even when under stress.

More information on bushfire survival plans and preparing yourself can be found on the CFS Website.