Help to prepare for bushfire season

An example of an ember attack from hazard reduction burns at Killcare Heights this year

With the warmer weather approaching, local authorities have encouraged residents to be prepared for the fire season and emergencies.

Killcare Wagstaffe Rural Fire Brigade (RFB) recently published a series of steps to create a Bushfire Survival Plan, with a heavy focus on communication, planning and education.

Step one of the Plan was to discuss with family whether you will leave early or decide to stay if well prepared.

The local RFB said individuals must work out when they are leaving, where they are going, how they are getting there, what to take, and who to contact.

It is recommended a back-up plan is created in case of emergencies.

Step two discusses the importance of preparing your home and getting ready in the case of a bushfire.

“Trim overhanging trees and shrubs … mow grass and remove the cuttings, have a cleared area around your home… remove material that can burn around your home … clear and remove all debris and leaves from gutters … prepare a sturdy hose/s that will reach all around your home … make sure you’ve got a reliable source of water and a petrol pump available,” the RFB said in a social media post.

Safe disposal of garden waste was also recommended.

“At a Hazard Reduction at Killcare Heights earlier this year, it was discovered that some property owners or their gardeners had been disposing of their garden waste by tossing it over the cliff into the National Park.

“When the fire from the Hazard Reduction got to these sections, the fire behaviour changed causing an ember attack onto the properties above.”

The RFB asked residents to check access to their properties and see if a fire truck can safely access.

Step three states locals should pay attention to alert levels, fire danger ratings and key information to be best prepared in the event of a bushfire.

A resident in Pretty Beach said that after experiencing a fire and subsequent evacuation in 2012, she would be investing in a good quality hose.

“Before the fire hit, we were trying to wet down our home, fill downpipes, wet towels against doors etc, it was near impossible with just a trickle out of the garden hose the water pressure in our street was so low,” she said.

“A pump and good quality hose is something we will invest in”.

Killcare RFB encouraged locals to take part in the Static Water Supply program (SWS), which is a free service that helps enable the identification of existing water supplies in properties that could be used for firefighting purposes.

The NSW Rural Fire Service provides specially designed SWS signs for properties with suitable water supplies to help firefighters access vital water supplies quickly.

Examples of suitable water supplies include: a property dam, a backyard swimming pool or a tank.

If you have a pool, tank or dam with more than a 3,000 litre capacity and wish to be part of the SWS Program, Killcare RFB asked locals to contact them through Facebook or email at:

Central Coast Council said it was working alongside lead emergency agencies to raise awareness and share resources to help prepare for disasters.

The first Emergency Dashboard for the region has been employed to help residents access information from major authorities such as the NSW State Emergency Service, Ausgrid and the Bureau of Meteorology, in one location.

The dashboard also features an emergency news section and social media feeds from each emergency agency.

Council Administrator, Rik Hart, said being prepared for emergencies can save lives, property and help us recover from disaster events.

“As we continue to be impacted by this latest COVID-19 outbreak, and the weather warms up and we head into bushfire and storm season we must remain vigilant,” Hart said.

“Know your risks, plan now for what you will do, get your home ready.”

With funding received through the Commonwealth and NSW Governments under the Disaster Recovery funding, Council said they have been working in bushfire-affected communities on projects to connect community and build resilience.

Some projects include the Yarn Hub and Yarn bombing, Community Days, Resilience Journal (6,000 distributed), Sculptural Installations by Pete Rush, Health and Wellbeing workshops, and development of Community Emergency Management Plans.

Maisy Rae