Bushfires are a part of Australian life. They are definitely part of life on SMBI.
What we want to be sure to do is to prepare our home and surroundings as much as possible, and have easy access to an emergency GO Bag/Box should we need to evacuate.
Each Island has its own volunteer Rural Fire Service Brigade, and these all cooperate as and when needed to ensure SMBI residents are as safe as possible.
Our Rural Fire Service crews are supplemented with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services crews from the mainland when needed.
Preparing for Bushfires
Please first review the information in the General Disaster Preparedness section.
In addition to the General Disaster Preparedness information, there are some simple things that can be done to ensure you are as prepared as you can be for bushfires on SMBI.
Gutters – It is crucial that you have your gutters and roof cleared of leaf and other debris before bushfire season and that you ensure your gutters remain clear throughout the entire season. Fires can start when embers land in gutters that have not been properly maintained, and if not caught early, this can spread into the roof space and this is nearly impossible to stop. Having a means to block your down pipes (even as simple as tennis balls wrapped in duct tape) and flood the gutters with water during a fire event can provide some protection.
Wood Piles– Wood that has been stacked into piles near houses or garages/sheds can ignite quite easily and this fire can then spread into adjoined structures. It is highly recommended to clear all wood piles before bushfire season.
Vegetation – It is highly recommended that lawns are kept maintained, and dead and dying vegetation is removed, especially that within around 10m of your home.
Garden Hose – Having a garden hose that will not only allow you to wet down the surrounding vegetation, but enable you to wet the roof and fill your gutters is recommended.
Have a read of the good, if marginally dated, information on the https://www.yourhome.gov.au/live-adapt/bushfire-protection site which covers building siting, design, protection and more.
Fire Bans and Restrictions website
Queensland Rural Fire Service website
Australian Fire Danger Ratings information
Bushfire.io the natural disaster map
Preparation is the key to survival
Use this checklist as a guide to start preparing your home before the start of bushfire season.
- Clear gutters and roof of leaves, twigs, bark and other debris. Consider installing gutter guards
- Enclose open areas under decks and floors
- Install steel wire mesh screens on windows, doors, vents and weep holes
- Point LPG cylinder relief valves away from your house
- Check and maintain firefighting pumps, generators and water systems
- Seal gaps in external roof and cladding
- Remove flammable items away from your home (such as woodpiles, mulch, boxes, hanging baskets, and outdoor furniture)
- Reduce vegetation along access paths
- Mow your lawn regularly
- Remove excess flammable materials such as long dry grass, dead leaves and branches
- Trim low-lying branches around your home to a height of two meters from the ground
- Display house number at road
- Ensure adequate space for fire trucks to access your home (at least four meters wide and high with turn-around area)
- Gather sufficient personal protective clothing and equipment for all persons and store so that they are readily accessible
- Prepare your evacuation kit or emergency kit
- Stock your first aid kit
- Check insurance policies are adequate for home and vehicles
- Review and update your Bushfire Survival Plan as a family each year
- Make a contingency plan
- Note your Neighbourhood Safer Place (Evacuation Centre)
An unprepared property is not only at risk itself but may also present an increased danger for your neighbours