Disturbing reality of horror heatwave
THE relentless heatwave that's battering much of the country means that Aussies not only have to be concerned about the soaring temperatures but the increasing likelihood of fires.
With temperatures reaching the high 40s in some places there is one thing that all Australians should have already done and those who haven't are putting themselves at risk.
The heightened risk of bushfires and home fires means all Australian households should have an emergency plan in place, however that is not the case for the majority of residents.
Recent research by NRMA Insurance shows while 63 per cent of residents in NSW and QLD believe they can quickly evacuate their home in an emergency, only 33 per cent say they actually have an emergency plan in place.
Even fewer Aussies have said they have an emergency kit at home.
In light of this, NRMA Insurance and Australian Red Cross are encouraging Australians to get a plan in place and be prepared as temperatures continue to rise.
"With severe heatwaves predicted across the country this week, we're reminding Australians to be alert for bushfires in their area and be prepared," NRMA Insurance partnerships manager Alex Mazzoni said.
"We know that only one in three people have an emergency plan in place, which means unfortunately many people often leave it too late to make critical decisions in a bushfire."
NRMA and Red Cross have created an app, Get Prepared, to make it easier for Aussies to create their own emergency plan and keep their family safe.
It also helps people connect quickly with others during an emergency like a bushfire and gives tips on the best way to protect their homes.
Australian Red Cross national resilience adviser John Richardson said fires can cause a lot more devastation beyond the loss of property.
"We are in greater danger than ever from such disasters but by taking simple steps to prepare or to review your plans, you're preparing mentally and physically to act," he said.
"Right now, with the threat of heat and fires, keep an eye on advice from your local fire service, make sure the people on your emergency plan know what you'll do and where you'll go in the event of a fire, check off and perhaps gather the items listed on your survival kit list, and plan for pets or livestock."
Mr Richardson said it was important to think about the impact fire could have on you long-term and plan to protect the things that matter to you, now and in the future.
"The fire may be through in an instant, but we feel the impacts for months and years," he said.
Some of the things Aussies can do now to be prepared in this heatwave include:
• clear gutters, prune trees and shrubs around the walls of houses and fit seals around doors and windows to eliminate gaps
• create a bushfire survival plan and make sure friends and family know what your plan is in the event of a fire
• keep an eye on advice from your local fire service
• make a plan for pets or livestock
• keep an eye out for your neighbours, particularly if they are elderly or need additional support in an emergency
• keep your insurance up to date to ensure you are covered if you are affected by fires