THE decisions you make now about preparing for bushfire can save your home but according to an analysis of residents impacted by recent fires, our decisions are not detailed enough.
Following fires in the Shoalhaven and at Yass and Coonabarabran in January the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) conducted research that focused on people’s preparation, decision-making and actions during the fires.
NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said some areas of NSW witnessed unprecedented fire danger conditions.
“These were some of the worst fire conditions we have ever experienced in NSW,” he said.
“While more than 50 homes were destroyed, not a single human life was lost.
“This gives us an opportunity to take a close look at what people did before, during and after the fire to learn from their experiences,” he said.
The research found many people had a basic bushfire plan but few had documented it or used the NSW RFS Bush Fire Survival Plan to document their response.
Most people interviewed felt they were well prepared and had prepared their family more than their home and property. More than half of the people had cleared space around their home.
It was found as a fire spread the naming of fires based on their start point did not reflect their current location.
Mobile phone alerts were hampered by a lack of mobile phone coverage in affected areas, which contributed to delayed decision-making.
Bushfire CRC chief investigator Dr Jim McLennan said the research showed the perceived risk of a bushfire is low despite many areas being at high risk
“Few residents of bushfire-prone areas are actually prepared and ready to leave safety,” he said.
“A majority of people do not have any real appreciation of what a serious bushfire entails, because they are such rare events for any given location.”
Visit rfs.nsw.gov.au to download a bushfire survival plan.