Climate scientists warn that with a warming climate, Australia will become drier and therefore more susceptible to bushfires. Therefore, if you live near bushland, you need quality fire equipment. You might be surprised that some of your everyday tools are actually the best fire equipment you own.
Every Australian will remember the Black Saturday Bushfires in Victoria in 2009, the Blue Mountains fires of 2013, and, more recently, the bushfires in the Adelaide Hills and in the great forests of Western Australia's South West region. The terror, the walls of flame 50-100 metres high, the tragic photos of injured wildlife and the lost homes. This is why you need fire equipment.
Living in bush areas means understanding that a bushfire is just one unlucky day away, especially since Australian summers are typically hot and dry south of about Coffs Harbour in NSW or Geraldton in WA. You need to be prepared, so you need to make firebreaks, keep your house and yard tidy and free of leaves, your trees well-trimmed, and your house and shed stocked with gear.
As surprising as it may sound, but your standard garden equipment, like a chainsaw, an axe, and a shovel, are all essential fire equipment. The chainsaw keeps your trees well trimmed, as does the axe. You don't want eucalypts hanging over your roof for two reasons:
- They drop leaves like nobody's business, meaning your gutters will become full of dry, combustible material.
- Eucalyptus trees are like firebombs waiting to go off, as the oil in the leaves is extremely flammable. Anyone who has seen a bushfire knows this. Keep Australia's native trees as far from your home as possible if you live in a bushfire zone.
Shovels are great fire fighting tools because they can help you build your firebreak. Shovels are also useful for snuffing out grass fires before they get up a head of steam and you don't have a pressurised hose handy. Tossing dirt onto the flames denies the fire oxygen, extinguishing it.
Your garden hose is an obvious but incredibly useful piece of fire equipment. Aside from the obvious use in putting out fires (only small fires, really), a hose is good for dousing your home as embers from the oncoming fire are blown towards your location.
Ember attacks are particularly dangerous for spreading the fire into residential areas, and your hose, and the careful preparation work you have put in by cleaning your gutters and keeping the trees away from your house will save you a lot of anxiety.
So remember, when bushfire season comes around again, that you don't need to go out and buy thousands of dollars worth of fire equipment in order to protect your home. Instead, make prudent use of the tools already tucked safely in your shed. It may just save your home - and your life.