Living with Pets: Bushfire Plan

Living with Pets:
Bushfire Plan

Download & Print
Download and print this useful checklist so you’re ready for emergencies.

Before the bushfire season

  • Clean up all rubbish around the house, keep grass mown and whipper snipped, including nature strip.
  • Move woodpile well away from house (minimum 10 metres).
  • Remove all branches overhanging the house (utilise Council’s green waste service or vouchers).
  • Clean out all gutters, including sheds/garage. Check wire mesh minimum of 1.5mm aperture over vents around the house.
  • Check all smoke alarms, and replace batteries if necessary.
  • Place mops and metal buckets in an accessible location with the Emergency Kit.
  • Ensure all house entrance points are clear of all combustible items/materials for at least 10 metres.
  • Check hoses can reach around whole house, can be moved inside and connected to the washing machine taps.
  • Test pumps and hoses for correct usage.
  • Discuss and agree on our plan as a household.
  • Decide where we are going to obtain our bushfire information from during the bushfire season and download associated apps or bookmark relevant webpages. Eg. CFA Fire Ready, , preset 774AM on radio. Don’t rely on one source of information and consider power failures.
  • Battery operated or wind up radios can be a great option in addition to new technology.
  • Identify our trigger to leave eg. Total Fire Ban, SEVERE or greater Fire Danger Rating.
  • Make arrangements to go to a non-high risk area when we relocate. Eg. Family or friends. Make sure family/friends are happy to accommodate any pets.
  • Make arrangements for all animals to be transported safely.
  • Pack relocation kit in a container or bag for quick transportation – photographs, medications/prescriptions, important documents (insurance details), passports, cameras, jewellery, backup discs, etc. (see Relocation Kit section). Keep relocation kit in an accessible spot.
  • Keep mobile phones charged throughout the bushfire season and carry at all times.
  • Identify exit routes and back up exit routes, as a fire could come from any direction and we need a plan to be prepared for all situations to avoid driving directly into the fire.
  • Practice what we will do should leaving early be impossible or if fire threatens the house’
  • Identify where to shelter in the house if unable to leave and discuss with the entire family.
  • Source enough woollen blankets for every household member to use for protection should the need arise. Consider obtaining blankets for visitors.
  • Pack an emergency kit (see emergency kit).
  • Inform the children that we will expect them to stay at school should a fire start during school hours, as schools have fire protocols in place for emergencies.
  • Advise the children’s schools of our plans to leave early on or greater, fire risk day.
  • Advise neighbours, close friends and relatives of our plan and where we will go when we leave.
  • Discuss our fire plan with direct neighbours, and exchange contact information to ensure we are all able to keep in touch in an emergency.

On a high risk day

  • Decide whether to leave the night before or early in the morning on our trigger days.
  • Regularly and continuously monitor the CFA Fire Ready app, and 774KHz (ABC Radio).
  • Advise neighbours, close friends and relatives of the plan to leave early and where we will go.
  • Move any outdoor furniture, flammable items, doormats and items which may be dangerous in high winds into the garage, including BBQ gas bottle.
  • Block all downpipes with gutter plugs, tennis balls or rags and fill gutters with water.
  • Turn off the Gas supply at the main.
  • Remove all rugs and head collars from livestock.
  • Place livestock in a well-grazed paddock with room for them to move freely. Do not lock horses in a stable, holding yard or similar environment.
  • Divert the home phone to a mobile and carry that mobile at all times.
  • Restrain all pets with leads or in transportable crate/enclosure.
  • Take the car/s, all family members, pets and our Relocation Kit and head for our designated relocation place. Remain there until the danger has passed.
  • Prepare for a probable delay due to traffic congestion so as to avoid a panic.

Should leaving early be impossible

  • Check the CFA Fire Ready app, and 774KHz (ABC Radio).
  • Advise family, friends and/or neighbours that we are on site and have been unable to leave.
  • Divert the home phone to a mobile and carry that mobile at all times.
  • Open Emergency Kit, and everyone put on their fire protection clothing and gear – including masks.
  • Hand out torches and fill and place metal buckets at front and back doors, with mops and wheelie bins filled with water.
  • Place restrained pets securely in the designated space with water and food.
  • Block all downpipes with gutter plugs, tennis balls or rags and fill gutters with water.
  • Turn off the Gas supply at the main.
  • Direct gas bottle vents away from the house.
  • Move cars into the garage and close the door.
  • Move any outdoor furniture, flammable items, doormats away from house.
  • Place a ladder, torch and Supersoaker (powerful water pistol) under the manhole to monitor roof space.
  • Remove all rugs and head collars from livestock.
  • Close all windows and doors (do not lock) and draw curtains.
  • Turn off the air conditioner/evaporative cooling.
  • Fill all baths and basins/sinks (upstairs and downstairs), and soak some towels, the towels to be used to seal under doors. Dry woollen blankets can cover people and pets in the event of the need to directly face the fire.
  • Continually monitor externally for ember attack.
  • Monitor 774KHz AM (ABC Radio) and on computer (assuming power is still available).

If fire directly threatens house

  • Make sure small pets are restrained.
  • Try to manage the pets but do not let anyone go after them should they escape – stay together.
  • Wet down all front and back decks and keep them wet.
  • Drench fire-facing walls, and continually monitor for spot fires.
  • Block under exterior doorways with wet towels/blankets.
  • Continually patrol house/ceiling to prevent and put out any internal fires.
  • Check roof space regularly.
  • When fire intensity becomes too great – retreat inside, move hoses into the house and connect them to the washing machine taps.
  • Draw curtains, but maintain a view of the conditions outside.
  • Do not retreat to a bathroom – they are generally an unsafe room as they only have one exit and windows are frosted for privacy – which does not allow us to see outside.
  • Keep drinking plenty of water, even if not feeling thirsty. Ensure pets have access to water.
  • If the house catches fire, move away from the source and shut doors behind us to isolate and slow down the burning parts of the house. The last room to retreat to must be the one with two exits, the designated room. (Hopefully the fire front will have passed by the time we are forced into the designated room).
  • If the designated room is no longer safe, and if it is safe to do so, move outside to the side of the house that will offer the most protection from radiant heat and cover up with dry woollen blankets and shelter there until the fire passes.
  • Turn off the air conditioner/evaporative cooling.

When the fire front has passed

  • Go around the house checking for embers and spot fires, and dousing these with the hose, cotton mops and metal buckets etc.
  • Keep drinking plenty of water, even if not feeling thirsty.
  • When all is OK, advise relatives or friends.
  • Check status of neighbours and street, including power lines, etc and report any problems via mobile phone (if available) to the CFA or Police.
  • Continue to monitor for spot fires.
  • Check pets/livestock for burns and administer first aid until able to obtain veterinary treatment. All first aid administered should be anti-inflammatory.
  • Provide plenty of clean drinking water for all pets/livestock and/or native animals.

Relocation kit

  • Large container with lid or bag to hold relocation items
  • Mobile phone chargers
  • Photographs
  • Back up discs and/or backup drive
  • Medications and prescriptions
  • Important documents (insurance, passports, proof of identity, banking info, credit cards, etc)
  • Jewellery
  • Address book, diary, important contact information (Doctors, council, power companies, etc)
  • Clothes for three days
  • Toiletries
  • Water
  • First Aid Kit
  • Dog/cat leads, pet crate/enclosure and food, bird seed and water
  • Money
  • Items of special value
  • Immediate supplies (food, formula, snacks, water bottles etc)
  • Radio and batteries

Emergency kit

NOTE: The following items are only in case leaving early is impossible.

  • Woollen Blankets
  • Hard hats
  • Leather gloves
  • P2 Smoke masks
  • Protective clothing (long-sleeved cotton shirts, hats, jeans, boots) for all family members
  • Plenty of water
  • Enough food for 3 days
  • Battery operated radio
  • Torches and spare batteries
  • Supersoaker (powerful water pistol)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Cotton mops and metal buckets placed strategically around the house
  • Mobile phone chargers
  • Cannot rely on mains water. Have a backup tank of at least 10,000 litres in case the mains water goes down.
  • If using a pump, do not rely on mains power.
  • Items for pets, including food, water, restraints, medications.