News

EXPLAINED: Bushfire emergency terms broken down

ONE of the challenges facing average punters in times of bushfire is understanding terms thrown at them by emergency services.

With a wall of flames bearing down on your property, the last thing you need to be doing is trying to decipher what 'watch and act' actually means, or the difference between emergency warnings and bushfire advice.

So we've broken down what the three types of bushfire alerts are and what they mean.

CONCERN BUT NO PANIC: A huge bushfire impacts Peregian Springs and Coolum residents as the flames threaten their homes. The fire burnt over 500 hectares and dozens of emergency crews were deployed throughout the night. Firemen battle the heat and the bleze.
CONCERN BUT NO PANIC: A huge bushfire impacts Peregian Springs and Coolum residents as the flames threaten their homes. The fire burnt over 500 hectares and dozens of emergency crews were deployed throughout the night. Firemen battle the heat and the bleze. John McCutcheon

Bushfire advice:

This is usually the first warning you will see come out, usually plastered over television screens, on radio broadcasts and all over news websites.

It's a general warning a bushfire has started, but there's not any immediate threat.

It's an early heads-up to start monitoring conditions, bring cars undercover, bring your animals inside and start securing loose items.

This is the time to review your bushfire action plan, clear gutters and get your contingencies in place if you haven't already. Preparation is key and you should have a clear understanding of whether you will evacuate or stay and defend your home.

It's now you should be putting on protective equipment, filling water containers and making sure your generator is ready if you intend on staying.

Monitor emergency alerts via radio and news sites.

Crowds gather to watch a bushfire burn at Coolum. Picture: Lachie Millard
Crowds gather to watch a bushfire burn at Coolum. Picture: Lachie Millard

Watch and act:

The threat is starting to ramp up, meaning conditions are changing and the bushfire is approaching.

There will be more specific information provided in these to those at-risk.

Watch and acts can be released anywhere from 24 hours to two hours prior to when a fire is expected to impact an area.

It's now that you need to take action and be prepared to protect yourself, your family and your neighbours.

If you're leaving, you should leave now.

Your bushfire plan should be enacted now, but know that well-prepared homes can be defended.

If your home isn't well-prepared it's too late to try and prepare it, you need to prepare to evacuate.

There are various levels of watch and act, depending on conditions, the behaviour of the fire and the area to be affected, so be aware that watch and act directions aren't all the same.

Big bushfire at Coolum, big shout the fire fighters keeping us safe.
Big bushfire at Coolum, big shout the fire fighters keeping us safe. MIKE-TURGOOSE

Emergency warning:

This is very specific information, broken down usually into streets, to indicate which properties are expected to be impacted by fire.

Time of impact is less than two hours. This is the critical stage.

Emergency warnings are issued if there is a risk to lives and properties.

This means you don't have time now, you must be decisive. Either leave immediately if the path is clear or stay and prepare to defend your home and your life.

Often spot fires will be thrown ahead of the main fire front, so be aware you cannot expect a firefighter at every house.

It's also worth noting some warnings and levels of alert can overlap.

The Coolum blaze from Emu Mountain on Thursday night.
The Coolum blaze from Emu Mountain on Thursday night. Radley White

Bushfire plan:

You may be wondering through all of this what a bushfire plan is?

If your home is on a slope, within a few kilometres of bushland or is surrounded by trees and shrubs within 20m of your home you could be at risk of bushfire, so you should have a plan in place.

Things to consider include the fire danger rating in your area, whether you have elderly or immobile family members that may take time to move, how well-prepared and maintained your property is and whether you'll need to travel through bushland if you need to evacuate.

Your two options are to leave early or stay and defend your property (forced evacuations can occur later but if your plan is effective you shouldn't be in that position).

If leaving early it's ideal to have a property well-prepared for a bushfire with cleared land or fire breaks in place.

You should also have a back-up plan in case things change and your exit route is blocked.

If staying and defending your home you need to make sure you have sufficient shelter for your family, have a back-up plan with a safe evacuation route and safe place to flee to, you are physically and mentally ready for the battle and you have enough supplies.

Your bushfire survival kit should include the following: protective clothes, torch, gloves, mops and buckets, hoses, shovel, towels, safety goggles, ladder, medications, bottled water, fire extinguishers, battery-operated radio, spare batteries for torch and radio, smoke mask, mobile phone charger, woollen blankets, first-aid kit and backpack sprayer.

If leaving your home, your relocation kit should have: protective clothes for whole family, battery-operated radio and spare batteries, safety goggles, medications, purse, wallet or cash, spare clothes for family, ID (driver's licence, passport, birth certificate etc), bottled water, food, woollen blankets, list of contact numbers (for family, doctors, vets, friends, local hospitals, council, utility providers), first-aid kit, pet food, bedding and water.

Topics:  bushfire bushfire safety coolum fire emergency rural fire and rescue service sunshine coast


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'You don't just bite someone's finger off for nothing'

MOVING ON: Jon Marco Reginald Perrin leaves Maroochydore Court House.

Neighbour sentenced over serious assault that severed fingertip

WARNING: Dodgy door-knockers spark Coast scam alert

SCAM: Door knockers claiming to be collecting for the Salvation Army in the Coolum and Peregian area are not legitimate.

Why you shouldn't give these people your personal information

"There were times I cried because I'm not normal”

INSPIRING EMPLOYEE: Brianna Grice has overcome challenges to gain employment.

"There were times I cried because I'm not normal”

Local Partners

Research shows your genes play a big role in religiosity

Psychologists are now coming to realise you might have less control over your religiosity than you think.

Bundy mum blogging to get families offline

FAMILY FUN: Deonie Crowther is holding family craft sessions at the Windmill Cafe in Bargara.

Crafty projects a hit with parents and children

Take luxury food, wine tour around Toowoomba

FOODIE CULTURE: Emily Moon (left) and Cheryse Bliesner with the Hummer used for Toowoomba's Luxury Food and Wine Tour.

It is designed to highlight the best produce the region has to offer

Country music stars coming to Ipswich

Ipswich will get it's country on when The Country Superstars Tribute Show hits town on Friday, June 30 at Brothers Leagues Club.

A UNIQUE tribute show will bring a bit of country into the city.

Pressure of fish fry feast too much for Ipswich cook

NICOLE Stevenson narrowly misses out on MasterChef's Top 10 but local dad Ben Ungermann makes the cut.

Schapelle Corby's Bali boyfriend 'lonely' now she's free

“I really hope we can see each other again in the future."

‘One of the most ludicrous films ever made’

Optimus Prime in Transformers: The Last Knight.

Transformers: The Last Knight has been shredded by critics.

Transformers movie bombs to horror opening week

Optimus Prime in a scene from, "Transformers: The Last Knight."

Transformers 5 had the worst opening in the franchise’s history

How 9/11 helped make Waleed Aly a household name

Waleed Aly and Susan Carland at the 2016 Logie Awards

“It feels like there was a script written for me,” he said.

Pixar weighs in on viral Toy Story theory

Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story.

DID Andy’s dad tragically die just before the story took place?

Gateway opens to $3b Coast mega estate

VISION: An artist's impression of the Palmview development 'Harmony' and its linear park.

New road provides link from the past to the future

Major German supermarket set to open in southeast Queensland

German supermarket giant Kaufland is understood to have approached southeast Queensland councils about a possible distribution centre, which would kickstart the establishment of new supermarkets.

Supermarket giant Kaufland has its eyes firmly on Queensland.

Confident first half year for commercial property

SIGNS OF CONFIDENCE: A mixed-use site at 139 Eumundi Rd, Noosaville, was one of the outstanding results achieved in the year.

Sunshine Coast market showing strong signs for next five years

Ocean views up for sale at Bargara Rise

LAND RELEASE: Rob Sergiacomi on site at the Bargara Rise development off Watsons Road Bargara.

More ocean-view land comes on the market at Bargara

Blueberries help property market boom

RURAL MARKET: Elders sale agent Terry Deefholts, Norman Arkan and rural sales agent Angus McDonald.

Growth in the rural property market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!