For most Australians, memories of the worst bushfire season on record are still fresh. In fact, many regions are still in the process of addressing the damage and loss caused by the fires.
Time however has continued to tick by – and we are now at the start of a whole new fire season. According to the the latest Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook, another tough summer looms; so it’s critical that residents in bushfire-prone zones prepare their home and garage for the hot months ahead.
According to Paul Bailey, Chief Superintendent for Fire and Rescue NSW, getting ready for the bushfire season requires both the physical preparation of your property and mental preparation of your family, via a bushfire survival plan that covers all areas of your home, including the garage.
“Bushfires are fast moving and terrifying. Reducing the hazards around your property and having a dedicated plan in place for your family to follow will provide you with the best chance of survival, should the worst happen,” says Mr Bailey.
With this in mind, Merlin has put together some tips for your garage and home bushfire safety preparations.
Clean the gutters
A build-up of debris in gutters has been identified as one of the 20 most vulnerable parts of the house during a bushfire, according to the Australian Standard.
During a bushfire, flying embers land in this tinder-dry material which can catch alight and spread flames to combustible parts of the roof structure, such as wooden boards, rafters, roof battens, and eaves.
Cleaning gutters, drains and downpipes of debris from your home, garage and any other buildings on your property before the bushfire season starts is a smart move that will reduce your risk if there is a bushfire.
Test your smoke alarms
According to Fire and Rescue NSW, smoke alarm batteries need to be replaced once a year, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t test them more regularly. Every month, you should test your alarm by pressing the test button for at least five seconds until you hear the beeps.
Remember that your alarm won’t last forever, replace it every five years, or earlier if advised by the manufacturer.
Include the garage in your Bushfire Survival Plan
According to Mr Bailey, one of the biggest oversights made by homeowners is failing to have an agreed-on Bushfire Survival Plan ready for the family.
“Unfortunately, most people don’t make a plan, and often don’t consider how they will leave their property if there is a fire.
“For example, bushfires can affect the power supply which can impact automatic garage door openers. It’s critical to have a plan in place to manually open your garage door to get the family in and out of the garage quickly and safely,” he explains.
To find the manual release cord on a roller door, look near the motor on the side of the door. It will also be near the motor for sectional and tilt doors, which should be found in the middle of the garage ceiling. Steps to operate your manual release cord can be found here.
Have extra peace of mind by installing a Battery Backup to ensure that your garage door opener (and safety features) can operate in the event of a power outage. Battery Backup is compatible with select Merlin garage door openers including the SilentDrive Elite, the Commander Elite and the Commander Extreme and is integrated with the Commander Ultimate garage door opener.
“It’s important for residents to think about bushfires now while the risk is reasonably low. The sooner you can prepare your home and family the safer you’ll be this fire season,” concludes Mr Bailey.
Be safe this bushfire season and make your garage door opener and garden are part of your survival plan.
For more information about your manual release cord or Battery Backup, contact our Customer Service team on 1800 638 234 or visit our website.