Bushfire preparation

Are you and your pets ready for the fire season? With 80% of New South Wales covered by grasslands, the warmer months ahead bring an increased risk of fires and threaten the lives of humans and their animals.

Dogs NSW urges dog owners to attend their local NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Get Ready Weekend event this weekend (Sept 16 & 17) to prepare themselves, their properties and their pets for the fire season.

“Grassfires are unpredictable; they can start anywhere, spread rapidly and move three times as fast as a bush fire, threatening the lives of people and their animals,” said Hugh Gent OAM, a NSW RFS Captain as well as President of the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) and Honorary Life Member of Dogs NSW.

“It is crucial to understand how to protect your property and most importantly yourself and your family, including your pets, from the threat of fire! A Bushfire Survival Plan must include your animals!”

Mr Gent is Captain of the Theresa Park Rural Fire Brigade and awarded the National Medal for his 30-year service for the RFS. Having also been awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia (OAM) for canine activities in 2008, Mr Gent shared some Bushfire Pet Survival Plan tips for pet owners to follow if their property comes under threat from a bushfire.

• If there is a bushfire threat, leave early!

• Have crates and dog trailers ready to go.

• Make sure your dogs are secured so that you can load them up quickly. Precious time can be lost rounding up dogs that are running loose and who may be distressed by smoke, fire sirens, helicopters and other unusual activities associated with bushfire fighting.

• Do not just drive off without a plan! Determine beforehand where you are going to relocate to at a location not in a danger zone. Dogs NSW’s Bill Spilstead Complex for Canine Affairs at 44 Luddenham Road, Orchard Hills, may be used as a temporary refuge.

For more advice on preparing a Bushfire Survival Plan for your pets, please visit https://goo.gl/D4Ne7q

“In preparation for an emergency, make sure your pets are wearing a collar and ID tag at all times and they have updated microchip details with a mobile number,” said Mr Gent.

“Also, have ready to go food and water along with bowls, medication and blankets. Carrying a pet first aid kit and a current photo of your animals may also be helpful in the event they become injured or lost.”

Largest Get Ready Weekend to date!

Over the weekend, nearly 600 Get Ready events will be held across NSW, making it the largest Get Ready Weekend on record, according to the RFS.

Dogs NSW encourages residents to attend their local RFS event this weekend to learn about their personal risk and how they can best protect themselves, their families and animals during the fire season. Residents can assess their risk using the Bush Fire Household Assessment Tool at https://assessmyrisk.rfs.nsw.gov.au/.

“About 90% of homes destroyed by bush fire are due to burning embers, which have the ability to travel many kilometres from the fire1. If you live well away from the bush, you can still be at risk,” said Mr Gent. “Make a pledge to be bushfire ready and start a conversation with your family about exactly what you’ll do in a bushfire!”

Barking for more info?

For more information about the Get Ready Weekend event or to find your local brigade, visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/get-ready2017. You can also follow the NSW Rural Fire Service on @nswrfs

Remember to report all unattended fires to triple zero immediately!

1 http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/get-ready2017