The sheer devastation of bushfires in the last decade has led Australia to take its fire-hazard more seriously than ever. Although you’re highly unlikely to find yourself in the path of a raging bushfire – government warnings are now excellent – it doesn’t hurt to know survival basics. Government advice is to take shelter if you cannot escape a fire front: stay in the house when the fire front is passing – usually five to fifteen minutes – and take shelter furthest from the front, albeit while maintaining an easy escape route from the building. A room with two exits and a water supply such as a laundry or a kitchen are advised; people have died sheltering in bathrooms and single-entry rooms. If you must evacuate do so into an area that has already been burnt and go as far from the approaching fire as possible – toxic smoke and fumes from houses are a danger. And wear long sleeves, long trousers and strong leather boots against radiant heat.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

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