SES Volunteer's Association of Western Australia Incorporated

One Association - Many Values

Bush Fires

Preparing for bushfire

The threat of severe bushfires occurs in Western Australia every year.
You can reduce the impact of bushfires on property and people by careful planning. Make sure you and your home are bushfire ready.


Fire facts

  • Burning embers can enter your house through open vents, broken windows or roof spaces – these small sparks can easily ignite a fire.
  • The majority of houses destroyed by bushfires burn down after the fire front has passed.
  • During a major bushfire there may not be enough fire appliances
    available to protect every home – so a great deal of responsibility
    rests with home owners to protect their house and family.


Have a plan …

  • Decide whether you will stay with your property, or go to a safer
  • If you decide not to stay, leave early – know where you will go
    and whether you can get there safely.
  • Prepare a list of things to do if a bushfire approaches.
  • Prepare a list of emergency phone numbers and numbers of
    neighbours’ homes.
  • Check that all family members are aware of their role in your
    family bushfire emergency plan.


Prepare your property

  • Maintain a circle of safety, at least 20 metres wide, around your
    home by clearing away trees, dead leaves, twigs and branches – also cut
    long grass and undergrowth in this area.
  • Don’t store flammable liquids, firewood or other flammable
    material close to, or underneath the house.
  • Close in eaves and the space under your house.
  • Fit bronze flywire screens or shutters to your windows and doors.
  • Maintain gutters and the roof clear of leaves.
  • Ensure that hoses reach all corners of the home.
  • Consider buying a petrol or diesel powered pump and arrange to
    have an alternative
    fire fighting water supply (eg tank, pool, dam).
  • Comply with the local government fire break notices.
  • Don’t burn off or light a barbecue on Very High or Extreme Fire
    Danger days, and check with your local council to find out about fire


Prepare yourself and your family

Make sure you have …

  • woollen blankets
  • buckets, mop, knapsack, ladder, rake
  • torch, battery-powered radio
  • a safe storage box for valuables and important documents
  • protective clothing such as cotton or woollen trousers,
    long-sleeved shirt or jumper, sturdy shoes/boots, hard hat or
    wide-brimmed hat, goggles and gloves.


Facing a bushfire – stay or leave home?

Don’t leave the decision to relocate until the fire is so close that you
cannot get out safely!

If there is a bushfire in your area, you must make an early decision on
whether you will stay with the house or relocate.

Staying with your own or a neighbour’s home could also be safer than
trying to get away on roads blocked by fire and smoke.

You may prefer to stay if …

  • you are confident your home is well prepared
  • you have sufficient emergency water supplies
  • you think you and your family can deal with the stress and tension
    of battling the fire.

You may prefer to go if you …

  • aren’t confident about the fire safety of your house
  • are worried about young children, elderly people or someone who is
  • think you could not cope with the stress of fighting the fire
  • know it is safe to leave, have a safe destination in mind and know
    it is safe to get there.

If a bushfire approaches …

  • dress in protective clothing and close all windows and doors
  • block downpipes and fill gutters with water, also fill buckets,
    basins, baths and sinks as a back-up supply
  • extinguish small spot fires around your house and check for spot
    fires under the house and in the roof space
  • when it becomes too dangerous outside, shelter inside and take
    hoses and fittings with you.


Need more information?

The following additional brochures to help you prepare for bushfires may
be downloaded from DFES website at:

  • The Homeowner’s Bushfire Survival Manual
  • Be Bushfire Ready
  • Bush Fires in the North of Australia
  • Is Your Property Fire Safe
  • Dry Season Fire Safety
  • Farm Fire Safety
  • Safe Harvesting Practices
  • Managing Smoke from Planned Burning
  • Safe Havens from Bush Fires
  • Evaporative Air Conditioners and Bush Fires