Although there are many benefits to living in the country, rural property owners face a higher risk of fire than city dwellers. If a fire starts it may not be detected as quickly and emergency services take longer to respond because of greater travel distances.
Protecting your property from Rural Fire
- To protect your property from rural fire we recommend:
- installing smoke alarms and testing them regularly. For more information about smoke alarms visit www.fire.org.nz
- designing an escape plan and practicing it. For more information visit www.fire.org.nz
- keeping the grass green and mown or grazed around your home
- creating a safety zone around your home of at least 10m by clearing any dead or dry material and replacing flammable plants and trees with low flammable species (for more information visit www.nrfa.org.nz)
- making sure your property is clearly signposted with your RAPID rural property identification number
- installing multipurpose dry powder extinguishers in your house and out buildings
- keeping a garden hose connected and make sure it is long enough to reach around the house
- ensuring your driveway has a minimum clearance of 4m wide, 4m high and adequate turning space for large vehicles
- easy access to water supplies and making sure they are signposted
- storing firewood and other flammable material away from your house
- safe handling and storage of gas or liquid fuels
- maintaining machinery and equipment in working order
- disposing of ash safely in a metal container and using approved incinerators
- Priority zone 1
Create a defensible area or safety zone. Convert to lawn and less fire-prone species. Remove flammable materials, waste and combustible debris.
- Priority zone 2
Remove trees and scrub to allow the trees that remain to be evenly spaced so they’re not touching.
- Priority zone 3
Prune all large trees and remove all branches at least 2 metres from the ground. Thin subcanopy trees, cut down dead or dying trees and remove overhanging branches that are close to powerlines.
During a fire or if fire is imminent
- If you are in a building, get down, get low and get out. If
- dial 111 and ask for Fire.
- stay well clear of the fire. Do not go back into the building under any circumstances
- do not try and extinguish the fire
- send someone to the roadside to meet the emergency services.
After a fire
- It may not be safe to return home even when the fire is extinguished. Continue to listen to the advice of emergency services.
- Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.
- Be careful when entering any structure that has been damaged.
- Ring your insurer as soon as possible. Take notes and photographs for insurance purposes.
- If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.
- If farming, check that livestock are secure and not injured. Their behaviour may be unpredictable so take care when approaching.