Get Ready Challenge: Week 2 - Will I Stay or Will I Go?
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Hi <<First Name>>

Greetings navigation masters and sightseers! How did you go with the Week One tasks 'Know Your Area'? 

If you want more, come to our workshop and fire history talk this Saturday, the 30th of July. It will be a great opportunity to have a chat and get your questions answered! It starts at 1pm at Katoomba/Leura RFS, 24 Fitzgerald St, Katoomba. Please RSVP here » 

This week we have a REALLY important topic to cover!



Will I Stay or Will I Go?

This is definitely the hardest - and most important - question to answer when preparing for a bushfire. There is no one single right answer (oh great!) and your decision must depend on the conditions on the day as much as your level of preparedness.

Whether you decide to stay or go, it’s important to think about your options before the threat arrives. And this important question can only be answered by you. Why? Because you are the only person who knows your situation. 

This week we have three tasks that will help you understand what the important issues are, and prepare for the day when you need to make this choice. We know you're up to it!


TASK: What are my 'triggers' to leave?

Write down three things that would make you want to leave your home and three things that would make you feel safe to stay. 

Keep this list stuck to your fridge door so you can compare it to the one you make at the end of the six weeks.



TASK: Play dress ups!
It's time to protect your home.

We want to give you a sense of what it might be like to defend your home. First there is the usual Saturday night dilemma, 'What should I wear?' We've also touched on what conditions to expect, and what sorts of tasks you might need to perform. 

Dress ups

We want you to find clothing around your home that would be safe to fight a fire in. Try it on and we'd love you to send us a photo!

To help you with the dress ups we borrowed our most fashionable crew members and prepared this photo for you...

The guy on the right seems the most prepared, obviously. But if you look closely at the other two dodgy looking characters you will see that they have done the right thing and are actually quite well dressed for hot, smoky conditions with embers about.

Here's what to look for in your wardrobe:

- All natural fibres - they don't melt!
- Full coverage keeps the radiant heat and hot embers out
- Enclosed shoes
- Leather gloves
- A mask or cloth to cover your mouth and nose
- Most important - eye protection.

Send us your photos! EmailFacebook or hashtags #GetFireReady and #6WeekChallenge.

Leave your gear on while you continue reading through this email.

What conditions to expect if you decide to stay and defend your home:

Many people who have stayed to defend their house during a bushfire describe the experience as terrifying, hot and noisy. This is not meant to scare you off – it’s vital for your safety that you’re physically and mentally prepared for very difficult conditions. By keeping a clear head you can keep a check on your safety, remember your triggers to leave, and remember your plan should you need to leave to find a safer place. 

What work might I need to do? 

Work begins before the fire front passes through your area and ends hours after. Many houses that are lost in a bush fire event are not near the actual fire front. This is due to falling embers that can travel many kilometres in hot winds. These embers can blow into nooks and crannys around your home then sit and smoulder without visible smoke or other signs that a fire has started. Houses have burned down hours later due to this phenomenon. You will need to check ceiling cavities, under decks, outdoor furniture, the garden shed, wood piles, etc. on a continual patrol for a number of hours after the fire front has passed.  

Ask yourself these questions:

Are you physically and mentally fit for this? Think about your level of fitness.
Do you deal well in stressful situations? 
Can you keep calm and focused despite difficult conditions? 
How long can you spend in these conditions wearing your protective gear?


You must be sure you will be able to work safely if you choose to stay and defend. Keep in mind always that your safety is the most important thing!

If you see an unattended fire, call Triple Zero "000" immediately. 

Tell your friends and family that you have decided to stay and defend so they can check in with you later.



TASK: Deciding when to go

Your second challenge this week is to do some homework.

The Bush Fire Survival Plan and also the MyFirePlan App have sections for you to fill in. Flip to section called “My Leave Early Plan” and “My Stay and Defend Plan” and start pencilling in what you think you should do. 

These are important tools in your decision-making process because having a plan ready will make life a lot easier and less stressful when you really need it.  

Useful links to maps and the Bush Fire Survival Plan:

RFS MyFirePlan App for iOS devices

RFS MyFirePlan App for Android devices

No Smartphone? No problem download a PDF of the Fire Plan Package to your computer or visit the Rural Fire Service website for more information.



Planning to leave

So you have decided you don't like the idea of staying to defend your home? This means your plan is to leave early. Here are some things to think about.


How do I know when I need to go? 

Look for updates and warnings: Warnings may be broadcast on TV and Radio, posted on social media or through mobile phone networks. Please take heed of advice to prepare to evacuate. Always monitor the conditions around you and compare it to what you are hearing or reading from these services.

Become familiar with the Fires Near Me map, for live updates on fire activity: 

What's the Fire Danger Rating?
Go to the following link. It explains the Fire Danger Rating and shows today's rating for your area on a map (Blue Mountains is included in Region number 4).

I want to leave early. But how early is that?   

Good question! That will depend on your destination. Aim to avoid meeting danger on the roads such as traffic or fire fronts. Give yourself extra time when planning to leave. The map exercise you completed in Week 1 will help here. 

Leaving early is always the safest option 



Final points for Week 2

If you plan to evacuate - make sure you go early and choose a place out of the risk area. Places you could go might be a friend or relative's house, or a shopping centre away from bushland – which isn't going to be affected by a fire.  Don't forget to pack your undies and toothbrush! (More about undies in week 5).

If you are under immediate threat from the fire front - it is too late to evacuate. It is not safe to leave without assistance from emergency services.

If you intend to stay and defend make sure you tell your friends and family so they can check in with you later.

If you're still wearing your dress ups gear from the second task we applaud you, and you can now pack them away ready for when you need them! 


You've made it to the bottom!

Next week:
Yard Blitz
It's time to get dirty. Keep an eye out for our email next Friday

Questions? Feedback?
We'd love to hear from you!

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