As many residents and property owners are already aware, we live in a very unique
location and EVERYONE needs to be prepared for a fire on French Island due to
limited water supplies and limited assistance from fire trucks and firefighting
CFA Media Release February 2007
It is essential that each property owner has their own individual fire plan in
case of the unfortunate event of a fire on French Island as we have recently
experienced from a lightning strike.
There are many things you can do to make your house and property fire safe.
Before the fire season
Before the fire front arrives
- Keep grass cut and low.
- Reduce 'fine fuels' - ie things such as long dry grass, fallen leaves and twigs. Anything smaller
in diameter than your little finger is a fine fuel and it is these that you need to clean up around
- Clear away dead undergrowth and fallen branches.
- Move wood piles away from your home.
- Clean leaves out of gutters.
- Plant trees and shrubs away from your home.
- Plant a protective shield of trees around your house to slow the wind, cut down radiant heat
and catch flying embers and sparks from a bushfire.
- Place weather stripping around the inside of doors and windows.
- Close underfloor spaces and seal all gaps where embers can enter.
- Make firescreens to go over windows to prevent the glass from cracking in radiant heat.
- Make sure that you have access to adequate drinking water supplies, such as tanks, dams and water
- Install a sprinkler system around your house.
- Gather appropriate fire fighting equipment such as ladders, hoses, buckets, mops, portable
water pumps, a ladder, rake, torch and knapsack spray to put out small 'spot' fires.
During the fire
- Dress in personal protective clothing to protect from radiant heat.
- Shut all windows and doors to prevent smoke and flames from entering the house.
- Move furniture away from the windows to prevent sparks from entering the house through a broken
window and catching alight. Furniture oftens burns easily.
- Put a ladder under the manhole and have a torch nearby for checking ceiling space for any embers
that may have landed.
- Fill the bath and buckets with water to provide a water supply in the house for putting out any
small fires that may start.
- Soak towels and woollen blankets with water to cover you face to protect against smoke inhalation.
- Place wet blankets or towels around windows and door edges inside the house to stop smoke and
embers from entering the house.
- Hose down the side of the house facing the fire and the garden areas close to the house to cool
the house down and stop it from burning.
- Patrol your property for any embers and extinguish them.
Go inside when it becomes too hot to stay outside. The skin on your ears and hands will alert you
that conditions have become too hot to survive outside. Your home will protect you from radiant heat
while the fire front passes through, typically taking around 10 to 20 minutes.
Take all fire fighting equipment inside with you, including tap fittings and hoses.
Stay inside your house while the fire front passes and listen to the radio for fire reports.
After the fire front has passed
Continue to wear your personal protective clothing.
Go outside again as soon as it is safe, to extinguish any small fires that may have started.
Water down the outside of the house, including the roof, and look out for small fires around the house.
Continue to look out for small fires and burning embers many hours after the fire has passed.
Check for burning embers:
- Inside the roof
- Under the floor boards
- Under house spaces
- On verandas and wooden decking
- On timber window ledges and doorsills
- Roof lines and roof gutters
- Outdoor furniture
- Garden beds and mulch
- Wood heaps
For more information, go to www.cfa.vic.gov.au or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line
on freecall: 1800 240 667