With emergency services in NSW being on high alert for bushfires, I think it is relevant that I outline a few simple tips to help protect your homes this bushfire season.

Before the fire season beings, it is important to start preparing the garden and natural bushland around your home. Start by clearing dead branches and leaves from your garden, gutters and around your house to help prevent a build up of litter which could fuel a potential fire. Prune tree limbs which are situated less then 2 metres from the ground or overhanging your home. Cut long grass within 20 metres of your home and remove bark, heavy mulch, wood piles and other flammable materials.

It’s also a good idea to fit a gate valve to water tanks; a 38mm storz coupling will assist the RFS in the case of an emergency. Consider installing a sprinkler system on your roof and/or in your garden. Use heavy-duty hoses with wide nozzles, but make sure they are long enough to reach all sides of your house. Another idea to consider is to prepare a bushfire survival kit including drinking water, woolen blankets, extinguishers, first-aid kit, respirator mask, torch, radio, batteries, goggles and gloves.

Before the fire danger approaches, gather buckets, mops, ladders, hoses, extinguishers, fire blankets, shovel, bushfire kit and personal protective equipment in one place ready for access. Fill reserve water supplies such as tanks and swimming pools, as mains water is in high demand during a fire. Wear appropriate clothing to reduce your exposure to fire, smoke and radiation heat, such as natural fabrics that cover as much of your body as possible. Also consider wearing a smoke mask or use wet cloth. You should also prepare your animals in case of an emergency evacuation.

Before the fire-front approaches, block drain pipes and fill gutters with water, then remove any outdoor furniture. Sprinkle or spray vegetation near the house and aim to keep the area damp. Patrol the property for spot fires and extinguish them. Stay close to the house, and continue to drink plenty of water. Next, prepare the inside of the house, close doors and windows, remove curtains and move furniture away from the windows. Soak towels and place them under doors leading to outside. Remember to report all fires to triple zero.