Take precautions

Check you have sufficient personal protective clothing and fire-fighting equipment.

The safest place to be is away from any fire. Survival and safety depend on the decisions you make ahead of time. On days when the fire danger rating is catastrophic leaving early is the safest option for you and your family.

If your plan is to stay, you need at least the following fire-fighting equipment and protective clothing. A fire-fighting knapsack is regarded as the most important item for dousing smaller fires or for mop-up work. 

A knapsack is made up of a backpack-mounted tank, generally manufactured of polythene, containing around 16 litres of water. Water is sprayed onto the fire using a high pressure, double-action underarm pump normally constructed from brass. It is fitted with a fully adjustable nozzle with a straight or spray jet.

Do you have fire extinguishers, full-length cotton or wool clothing, numerous water buckets, wet towels, bushfire boots, and protective gloves?

Relocate flammable items and fluids away from your home.

Store flammable materials and toxic materials at least 30 metres downwind of other buildings, especially the home. Store flammable items such as paint, woodpiles, petrol, cardboard boxes and paper, and petrol away from non-flammable items. For large quantities of flammable fuel consider the use of elevated fuel storage or underground tanks.

If you have LPG cylinders for gas supply, turn off the LPG cylinder at the valve on top by turning the valve in the direction of the arrows. Leave the cylinder where installed in an upright position, with relief valves directed away from the house. Clear any combustible material from around your gas cylinders and remove any gas cylinders attached to wooden structures such as barbecues.

Know where and how to turn off mains power, water, gas and solar power.

To enable fast action in an emergency, draw a map of your property and clearly mark the location of your electrical switchboard, natural gas connection or tanks, water supply, and solar inverter, and keep this with your Household Emergency Plan.

Remember to turn off power at the main switch in your switchboard. Two separate inspections must occur on a flood-affected property before power can be reconnected to your property; one by your electricity provider and another by a licensed electrician who will inspect and test household wiring. 

If the water supply system has been flooded, assume it is contaminated. Damage to water pipes is reduced when depressurised. Shove a towel down into the water bowel and weigh that down with a sand bag or brick, to reduce contamination of floodwater by untreated sewage.

Turn off your gas supply or gas cylinders. Do not attempt to use gas appliances if your property has been inundated. Any gas installation affected by floodwaters must be checked by a licensed gasfitter, at your expense, before the gas supply can be restored. Your flood insurance might cover the expense. The operator should replace flood-affected regulators or meters that form part of the gas network.

If your solar system is at risk of being subjected to bushfire, this is what you should do.

Your solar power system should shut down if mains power is turned off. However, you can manually turn off the solar power system by following the shutdown procedure listed on or near your solar inverter or meter box. Do not attempt to turn the solar power system on when floods have receded. Call your installer, explain the situation and ask them to recommission the system. Or call your licensed electrical contractor. The inverter will need to be replaced if it has been damaged by fire, as internal components might have melted.

Do not attempt to approach your solar power system or attempt to turn it off if any of the components are flooded or wet, as this could cause a lethal electric shock

Purchase long hoses to reach the entire house and roof.

The hoses you use to water your garden might not reach all walls of your house and the roof area. And you'll need long hoses, in order to reach each corner of your property, because the fire could come from any direction. A lot can be achieved with ordinary garden hoses. However, permanently installed hose reels are more effective, because they'll reach the entire house and yard.