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Be prepared! 

Scorched tree standing in middle of fire
Scorched tree standing in middle of fire

Wherever you live in Tassie, there are things you can do right now to reduce the impact of bushfires. This is good for your health! 

If you live close to the bush, do your 5-minute bushfire plan! Developed by the Tasmanian Fire Service (TFS), the plan will help you be ready and safe. It reminds you how to prepare your property and animals and what to pack in advance.  

The TFS has also developed bushfire protection plans for local communities. These plans show evacuation routes, your closest Nearby Safer Place, and details about services. No plan can cover all scenarios but have a look at yours and make sure your neighbours know it too. Plan to leave early. 

Make a bushfire ready kit. Keep it handy. Top picks for what to pack: 

  • battery-operated radio – find your local ABC radio station on AM or digital radio. Don’t rely solely on the internet. 

  • wind-up torch – it gets dark in a bushfire. 

  • water, lots of it, in airtight containers. 

  • food that can be eaten without cooking. 

  • chargers and battery pack for phone. 

  • medicine, toiletries, first aid kit. 

  • clothes made of natural fibres, sturdy shoes, and work gloves. 

  • list of phone numbers (don’t rely on your mobile phone). 

  • details for important documents (such as insurance, driver’s license, passport, etc.). 

It is also important to be ready for bushfires emotionally.  

Anticipate that you might feel stressed and afraid. Identify how you usually feel when you are stressed. Manage how you might feel by having helpful phrases ready such as “I can handle this” and “I can breathe calmly”.  

It is a good idea to practice breathing techniques before you feel stress, so you know what to do when you need it. (We have a handout on selfcare that includes breathing exercises.i ) 

The TFS’s bushfire pageii has all the resources you need to help you this bushfire season. Bookmark it on your phone/tablet/laptop. It will tell you how to do your personal bushfire plan and you can find your community Plan. You can download your Emergency Kit fact sheet. It will also give you links to check for fire danger ratings, fire bans and bushfire alerts. These links will help throughout the bushfire season. 

The ABC Emergency websiteiii and Australian Red Crossiv  also have useful resources.  

If you live in the city, let your bush-living friends know if they can come to stay and what animals you can host. You might have elderly friends who could do with a hand in getting prepared. Reach out locally. 

The climate crisis is not gender neutral. Globally, women experience the greatest impacts of disasters. In the 2004 tsunami, 70 per cent of deaths in Indonesia were women. Women often also carry the burden after a disaster as they do most of the daily chores. Sexual violence is also heightened during disasters.  

When any disaster strikes, remember your sisters around the world and if you can, donate to a relevant charity to support them.