One of the great things about living in Australia, without question, is our wonderful warm weather. Those long, hot summer days are a part of our culture, whether they're spent at the beach, the cricket oval or simply wandering in the outback.
With our hot climate comes a threat however, an ever-present danger that we are forced to deal with every summer: bushfires. According to Geoscience Australia, since records began in 1851, bushfires have claimed over 700 lives and an estimated average cost of $77 million annually. At present there's no way to completely stop bushfires, but with the right measures, you can minimise the risks to your property and, more importantly, your family.
State governments and local councils offer plenty of advice for bushfire preparedness, and with the right tools from Kennards Hire you can follow any suggested safety guidelines and make it through another fire season, hopefully without incident.
Clear vegetation and rubbish
The biggest step you can take towards bushfire preparedness is to clear your property of excess vegetation and rubbish, which have the potential to catch alight and spread fire. For removing excess branches from trees around your home, Kennards has a range of chainsaws available to get the job done. Even high-up branches, which still have the potential to cause large amounts of damage in a fire, can be tackled with a telescopic pruning saw, available in both electric and petrol versions.
Each jurisdiction has different regulations, so be sure to check the guidelines in your area for what and where you are able to clear - it could be the difference that saves your house. Once you have satisfactorily cleared all vegetation and rubbish, speak to Kennards about waste bins or even larger disposal options, making sure to get any accumulated green waste far from your home.
Don't neglect your lawn
While it might seem obvious to remove some of the larger vegetation around your property, it is easy to overlook another potential danger spot: your lawn. In the hot, dry weather, a bushfire can latch on to any flammable material as fuel - even something as seemingly innocuous as grass - and spread rapidly.
The shorter your lawn, the less likely it is to catch alight. At Kennards, we have mowers to manage any size of property, from small petrol push mowers for residential backyards, to ride-on broad area mowers capable of handling acres of land. Whatever the size of your lawn, keeping things trimmed is an advisable safety step.
Build a radiant heat shield
The South Australia Country Fire Service states that one of the major dangers of bushfires comes not from the fire itself, but from radiant heat. Firefighters recommend the construction of a barrier close to your house to act as a heat shield, and to help prevent the jumping of embers from the bushfire to potential fuel sources.
Permanent stone or cement walls are obviously a great addition to your bushfire-prone property, but for a quicker solution it is possible to construct an earth barrier with relatively little equipment required.
For earthmoving purposes, Kennards Hire has plenty of options for building an earth barrier to protect your home. It can be a big job, depending on the size of the structure you're protecting, so make sure to get started early, ideally well in advance of the summer's peak temperatures.
Keep water on hand
In the event of a bushfire, it's always recommended that you and your family vacate your property to safety, well away from the path of the flames. It's always possible, however, that you get caught unawares, or simply cannot leave your property and instead must stay and defend.
The Victorian Country Fire Authority's (CFA) guidelines for defending your home against a bushfire state that a minimum of 10,000 litres of water should be on site for firefighting purposes. You can never have too much though - the CFA also notes that in the Black Saturday fires of 2009, some households used up to 40,000 litres in the fight. To meet this need, Kennards offers a variety of large-scale water storage and pumping facilities, even firefighting pumps, preparing you for every bushfire eventuality.
Survey the damage
It's not enough to stick out a bushfire when it's active; there are still potential hazards after it has moved on. As soon as it has been deemed safe to do so, it's essential you survey your property for any lingering hot spots that have the potential to flare up again.
Checking your house's roof and ceiling spaces for remaining embers should be the first step on your post-bushfire assessment, so you will need to have one or more sturdy ladders on hand. Cooling down any hot spots can be done with a backpack sprayer, also available from Kennards Hire.
Every year, Australia faces the same challenge from extreme temperatures. Planning ahead to minimise your risk is your greatest strategy against the wrath of bushfires, so visit your local Kennards Hire for everything you need to safeguard your property and prepare for the long, hot summer.