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The Big Dry; fire safety tips for rural people

Fire reduction; reduce the chances of fire occurring at your rural property by:

Not lighting ANY open-air fires.  This includes braziers, pizza ovens, solid fuel barbecues, hangi etc.

Having a “defensible space” about your home and buildings; ie no dry grass or combustible fuels close to your home or buildings. Keep lawns green if you have water.

Checking that trees and other vegetation are clear of live power wires and electric fences.

Clear meter boxes and vehicle engine bays of nesting birds and rats.

Double check that your petrol/diesel engines, chainsaws, brush cutters, heavy plant etc have spark arresters on their exhausts. Avoid using these on very hot or windy afternoons.

Carry out mowing early in the day to minimise the fire risk of stone strike in dry grass.

Spark-hazardous operations such as welding and grinding in the open require a Special Fire Permit.

You may need to apply for a Special Fire Permit if you have to carry out a fire-hazardous activity. Only the Principal Rural Fire Officer is authorised to issue these permits.

Fire readiness

Have a garden hose attached to a tap that allows the hose to reach right around your house.

Have operational smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in your home

Have firefighting equipment and water handy if you are using powered equipment outdoors.

If you have a swimming pool or dam handy to the buildings make sure there is good access to it and that there is pumping equipment handy.

Check that people at your place know your RAPID number and how to call 111 to report fire.

Keep driveways clear of overhanging trees for fire trucks and have a turnaround area. Signpost drives that are unsuitable for heavy vehicles.

Signpost water supplies and ensure that these are accessible for fire crews.

Fire response

Dial 111 immediately.

Ensure the safety of yourself and your family first.

Be prepared to initially deal with a fire yourself with protective clothing to shield you from flame and heat as it may take time before responders get to your place.  Safety first.

Know your neighbours and be prepared to help one another if the situation calls for it.

Get someone to stand at the gate to direct fire crews on where to go.

Fire recovery

Check your insurance is comprehensive and covers you for fire suppression costs.


4 October 2017

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