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The Rural Fire Service are bracing themselves for the worst day of fires so far this year on Tuesday November 12.
The risk of the current fires flaring and breaching containment is real. The fire danger rating for our area, the North Coast, is extreme. For Greater Sydney and the Greater Hunter, catastrophic fire danger is now forecast.
"People in the area need to remain vigilant over coming days but be aware that the risk on Tuesday is greater than we have seen to date," said Stuart Robb from the RFS.
There are large sections of unburnt vegetation with in containment lines across many fire grounds. It is expected that as the Fire Danger Index rises, these fire are likely become active again. This will increase the risk of breaches of containment.
Even if your plan is to leave early, the more you prepare your home, the more likely it will survive a bush fire or ember attack. A well prepared home can also be easier for you or firefighters to defend, and is less likely to put your neighbours' homes at risk.
"A well prepared home will also give you more protection if a fire threatens suddenly and you cannot leave.It is important to keep up to date. Download the Fires Near Me app and set up a watch area. This will push info to about new fires as well as major fire updates," said Mr Robb.
"There will never be as many fire trucks as there are houses. We do have a lot of resources moving across fire grounds, but these have been stretched. Do not depend on a fire truck being available at your home. Preparation is the key."
Multi-agency firefighting arrangements continue across all fire grounds in the Mid-Coast and Port Macquarie Hastings LGAs. The emergency service partners and firefighting agencies are working closely to coordinate support for fire-affected communities.
"We thank the community for their ongoing support and patience as the fire emergency continues. As the weather continues to deteriorate, it is likely that the disruptions will continue and this may include road closures, effects on power and telecommunications infrastructure. We can assure the community that we are working hard to restore normality to the community," said Mr Robb.
"We cannot stress enough the decision regarding leaving early or defending your property and the need for the bush fire survival plan. Prepare your property and check in with your neighbours."
The RFS say preparation is a community responsibility. During a bushfire, alert levels are used to give people an indication of the level of threat from a fire. Don't wait for a warning. Over coming days, fires may start and spread to quickly that there may not be any time for a warning.
If you get a bushfire alert, you must take it seriously. Failure to take action can result in death or injury to your family members.
KEY MESSAGE ON MONDAY NOVEMBER 11 AND TUESDAY NOVEMBER 12:
Think about the conditions. These will be similar or worse to those we have seen over the past week. Fires will start easily and spread rapidly. The safest option is to leave on the morning of a bad fire weather day.
Keep up-to-date with the FiresNearMe app. Make a bushfire plan. Go to www.rfs.gov.au/planand-prepare/bush-fire-survival-plan
What to do during a fire
Follow your bush fire survival plan. If you do not have a bush fire survival plan, ensure you know what you will do before, during and after the fire. Remember - leaving early is your safest option.
Before the fire
- Put on your protective clothing
- Turn on the radio to keep yourself informed
- Bring pets inside and keep them in one room
- Close all windows and doors
- Block spaces beneath doors and windows with wet towels
- Fill buckets, sinks and bath tubs with water ready to put out spot fires
- Have your firefighting equipment like pumps and hoses connected to your water supply
- Block downpipes and fill gutters with water
- Remove items which can burn from around your home like outdoor furniture
- Bring ladders inside to check roof space for embers
- Patrol the outside of your home putting out any embers or spot fires
- Just before the fire arrives, wet down timber decks and gardens close to the house
- Move any firefighting equipment to a place where it will not get burnt
During the fire
- Go inside but stay alert
- Shelter in a room on the opposite side of the house from the approaching fire and one that has a clear exit out of the house
- Patrol inside the house, including the roof space looking for sparks and embers
- Protect yourself from the heat of the fire
- If your life is at risk, call triple zero (000)
Once the fire has passed
- Check your roof spaces
- Go outside and put out any part of your house which is alight
- Check under the house and any decks
- Check on your pets and animals
- Embers or sparks can start spot fires for many hours after the fire has passed
- If you can, contact your family and friends and check on your neighbours