If is an unfortunate fact that firefighters may not be able to assist you in times of need due to overstretched resources, leaving it up to you to protect your home.
Phase 1: In preparation for a possible fire :
If you in the weeks before a possible fire are able to properly prepare the area surrounding your home, it should be safe to stay. It is still advisable to arrange for pets, children, and the elderly to be moved to a place of safety away from the area. If you have not prepared, and your property is likely to be threatened by fire and is closely surrounded by flammable vegetation and has poor access, you should leave well before the fire arrives. Remember to pack essential documents, pets and smaller valuables. Leaving your evacuation to the last minute is extremely dangerous.
Phase 2: If you have decided to stay and the fire is now approaching :
- Listen for news updates of the veldfire situation.
- Dress in a long-sleeved cotton shirt, cotton trousers (jeans), boots and something to protect your head (face scarf, cotton balaclava, etc.)
- Clear roof gutters of leaves, and sweep or rake leaves from decks and lawns near the house.
- Block your down-pipes with rags and fill your gutters with water.
- Move flammable outdoor furniture, doormats and hanging baskets away from the house.
- Close all doors and windows and close shutters if you have them.
- Take down curtains that could ignite through the glass windows as a result of radiant heat.
- Fill the bath and any buckets and other containers with water.
- Put a ladder inside so you can check the roof space later.
- Just before the fire arrives, wet down timber decks and gardens close to the house.
Phase 3: When the fire is around your home :
Expect to experience hot, windy, dark and smoky conditions. This should not last for long.
- Put out spot fires as they occur. A hose or a wet mop is handy for this.
- If you are forced to go inside due to the smoke and heat, take the hose and fittings inside and fit them to an inside tap.
- Check around the inside of your house constantly, including in the roof space.
- If your house catches fire and you can’t put it out, close all interior doors and shelter inside close to an exit. Leave the house when it is necessary and safe to do so.
Phase 4: Once the fire has passed…
- Go outside and put out any part of your house which is alight.
- Check under the house and any decks, and inside the roof as well.
- Keep checking for several hours.
- Assist your neighbours.