Be fire wise this summer

Bushfire season has now officially commenced – and after a historically warm and dry winter, according to long range weather forecasts, we now face a long,
hot summer.

While this is good news for those wanting to play in the sun, experts are warning that we could be in for a severe bushfire season.

Fire fighters across Australia are bracing themselves for a busy time ahead; but did you know there are a number of simple things you can do to prepare
your home and reduce the chance of tragedy?

Preparing your home for bushfires not only impacts you and your property, but also your neighbours’ homes, so by taking action now you can help reduce
the risk for everyone. Outdoor power equipment manufacturer Briggs & Stratton has some key tips to help prepare your property and reduce any fire
hazards.

“With bushfire season running until March or April 2014, it’s important to prepare now,” explains Glenn Stubbs from Briggs & Stratton.

“Across the Briggs & Stratton and Victa ranges, we have products that can help get your garden and property ready for summer. This includes a wide
range of ride-on and walk-behind mowers to keep your lawns under control, and outdoor vacuums and blowers for clearing leaves from outdoor areas. Plus
we have generators for emergency power, and water pumps designed to help or protect your property if needed.”

PREPARING YOUR HOME: KEY TIPS

Assess your property and identify any potential fire hazards

This includes wood piles or timber, unpruned trees and long grass. If your home is located near a bushland area then the risk is heightened.

Clear away fine fuel that may help a fire along

This includes leaves, twigs and smaller plant debris that may be found all over your property. Focus particularly on fine fuel found close to your
home. Clean leaves and other plant matter out of your gutters.

Keep the lawn short and maintain trees and hedges

This will make it easier to defend your property from a bushfire. A trimmer will help deal with weeds and grass growing up against the house or around
garden edges.

Cut back trees overhanging the house

A chainsaw can help with pruning the lower branches of trees, while covering woodpiles and moving them away from the house helps to reduce the risk
of fire spreading.

Water pumps at the ready

Briggs & Stratton also has a range of water pumps, made from lightweight aluminium so they are easy to transport. The high pressure fire fighting
pumps can be used to extract an emergency source of water from a pool, dam or water tank when fires are near. In addition, low pressure trash and transfer
pumps are ideal for bigger properties where you may need to transfer water to and from tanks or dams.

Equipment checks and maintenance

Now is also an opportune time to check that your generators, water pumps and piping systems are all in working order. This will ensure that in the
case of an emergency you are ready to protect your property.

Seal all gaps in your roof, walls and under the house

This will help prevent embers from entering roof spaces or underneath your home and starting a blaze that you cannot see. It is also a good idea to
check that a fire truck would be able to access your property if need be.

Have an emergency bushfire plan

The most important thing is to make a bushfire plan and share it with family members and neighbours to ensure your safety. This plan should include
whether you will evacuate or stay to defend your home, and what you will need for each scenario. You should also consider what to do with any pets
or animals on your property.

In summary, follow this bushfire season preparation checklist:

  • Clear garden of extra leaves, branches and other combustible material
  • Keep grass short and prune trees, bushes and hedges around the house
  • Clean out your gutters
  • Seal gaps in your roof, walls and under the house
  • Check generators and water pumps to ensure they are in working order
  • Make an emergency bushfire plan and share it with family members and neighbours

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