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Thankfully, for many of us, it is unlikely that our homes will ever be threatened by fire, but disaster can often strike when we're least prepared. We've put together a list of tips to keep your family, possessions and precious memories as safe as possible.

1. Get to know your area

Get in contact with your local emergency services about what potential risks you face in your neighbourhood. Being aware of what you can expect will help you in adequately preparing for a sudden unexpected situation.

2. Prepare your outdoor areas

Ensure you house number is clearly displayed in case emergency services need to find you. Trim your bushes, mow your lawn and clear away any excess combustible materials from the yard. Clear gutters of leaf debris regularly and keep flammable items including outdoor furniture away from the house.

3. Create a household emergency plan

In the event of an emergency, you don't want to be in a panic as you figure out what to do. Sit down with the members of your household and establish a list of important items you need to save and how you would protect yourself in the event of an emergency. Get in contact with people you know and trust such as friends, family, or collegues that would be able to support you in the event of an emergency. Just remember that other people in your local vicinity may also be affected so it's best to have a broad support network.

4. Get to know your neighbours

Aside from being a generally nice thing to do, in the event of an emergency, people are more likely to turn to others they know for help and support. Get to know the people around you and exchange contact information so you can alert each other in times of need such as fire or burglary.

5. Create an emergency kit

In an accessible place, put together a box of emergency items that can help you and your family stay aware and connected. In an emergency, you may not always be able to stick together so it's important you have the items you need to find your way back. You should include items such as a torch, a radio, spare batteries, first aid kit, spare clothes, important documents and phone numbers.

Resources

The Red Cross provide some great resources for emergency preparation and have a list of documents available for download. The organisation also provides extensive support for families effect by disasters, such as fire. We encourage you to engage with their website and find out how you can make a difference.

If you see signs of fire or an emergency situation, always call 000 immediately. Be sure to check on local emergency service reports in these times for updates and advice on how to proceed. Remember, it's always safer to leave early!