This Summer’s fire season has rocked the Australian communities to its core. Countless homes and businesses destroyed and lives lost. Having a fire safety plan in place has never been more important or relevant, especially for our elderly loved ones who may be living alone or suffering health concerns that may impact their readiness to act should an emergency occur.
The Rural Fire Services advise communities to have a Fire Safety Plan in place and to have a talk with family or friends to discuss what actions will be taken to ensure our homes, businesses and most importantly, our lives, are protected. By following a few simple steps, you can make sure your loved ones are as ‘fire-ready’ as they can be.
The Rural Fire Service advises the following:
DISCUSS WHAT TO DO IF A BUSH FIRE THREATENS YOUR HOME
Many households find that having a discussion over dinner works best as everybody is together and focussed.
PREPARE YOUR HOME AND GET IT READY FOR BUSH FIRE SEASON
There are simple things you can do around your home to prepare it for a bush fire, like keeping the grass low and having a cleared area around your home.
KNOW THE BUSH FIRE ALERT LEVELS
If there is a fire in your area you will find its alert level on the NSW RFS website and in the ‘Fires Near Me’ app. You need to keep track of the alert level so you know what you should do.
KEEP ALL THE BUSH FIRE INFORMATION NUMBERS, WEBSITES AND THE SMARTPHONE APP
In a bush fire, it’s important that you stay up to date on conditions in your area.
In such heated conditions, it is also important to check in on your loved ones, elderly neighbours and friends to see how they are coping and to see if they require any assistance.
During the Summer months, it can be all too easy to miss signs of heat exhaustion in our young children and seniors who are most at risk from the higher temperatures. If you find that you notice the following signs in someone, keep a close eye on them or contact 000 if you find their condition deteriorating.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion
- Heavy sweating
- Cold, pale and clammy skin
- Fast, weak pulse
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Tiredness or weakness
- Fainting (passing out)
What you can do to assist when you spot the signs:
- Move them to a cool location
- Loosen any tight clothing
- Place a cool, wet cloth or clothing on them, or provide a cool bath
- Provide cold water for them to sip slowly to keep hydrated
If you find the elderly in question is disorientated, vomiting or losing consciousness, contact 000 immediately and stay with them until medical assistance arrives.
At SummitCare, all residential aged care homes are fitted with air conditioning to keep the climate indoors at optimum temperatures for comfort, and all homes contain fire safety equipment and sensors to alert staff and residents of any fire emergencies. All homes practice and maintain fire evacuation drills and staff are trained in the use of extinguishers, blankets and evacuation point navigation to ensure residents are directed quickly to safety.
If you would like more information about being fire-ready, contact the Rural Fire Service’s Bushfire Information Line on 1800 679 737 or visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.