That’s the message CFA officers are taking out to people as they gear up for the fire season.
But for all other days, including “severe” and “extreme”, there are many ways you can prepare your house to give it the best chance in a bushfire.
Right now, the CFA is ramping up its information services, to help Victorians prepare for the summer.
If you’ve heard about the free Home Bushfire Advice Visit, but are hesitating about whether to sign
up, be assured it’s both easy and useful.
You can do it yourself online, but having the CFA drive up to your house, then talk you through your preparations is part of the excellent service all Victorians, particularly those of us living in rural areas, have access to.
As Advice Visit co-ordinator Neil Munro said, having a trained officer on your property means you can ask the questions that have been niggling at you, without fear it’s the “wrong” question.
“It’s confidential, and you get a written report for peace of mind,” Mr Munro said.
In the Bendigo region, the visits can be booked year-round, with Mark Kelly the officer who will show you where your house has vulnerable spots, and taking measurements to assess the radiant heat you can expect in a bushfire.
There is also a team sent out from the Melbourne base of the CFA, targeting different regions with letter-box campaigns explaining how the service works.
Some of those officers have been through the terrible fires of Black Saturday, so when they talk about how to survive, you listen.
According to Mr Kelly, the Advice Visit is particularly popular with new residents, tree-changers who understand the need to get up to speed on what to do, if the unthinkable happens.
“Most people remember what happened on Black Saturday, but after a couple of good years, we can become complacent,” he said
What you are looking for, either with the home visit or with your self-assessment, is “defendable space”, sufficient area around your house to reduce the risk of ember attack.
You also need a checklist of things to do to prepare your house, on a high-risk day.
If you do stay and defend (not on Code Red days, when, as the safety officers tell you, nothing is defendable), then be prepared to find it frightening and exhausting.
“Now’s the time to prepare,” Mr Kelly said.
“A well-prepared house has a much better chance of not catching fire.”
You can book a home visit online at www.cfa.vic.gov.au.