The Tasmania Fire Service is working closely with the Department of Education and others to ensure that government and non-government schools in bushfire-prone areas are bushfire-ready; that is, that children, staff and visitors at schools will be safe if bushfires threaten.
Steps are being taken to ensure schools are bushfire-ready by:
- Creating and maintaining a defendable space around all structures by removing flammable vegetation. The amount of defendable space required depends on the gradient of the land around the buildings. The Tasmania Fire Service publication Bushfire Survival Plan provides guidelines for creating a defendable space.
- Ensuring grass and lawns on the school property are mown.
- Maintaining access for firefighters.
- Minimising the use of flammable mulch such as pine bark on school grounds and removing any of these materials from the defendable space’s ‘inner zone’.
- Storing rubbish bins, refuse and other flammable items away from buildings.
- Creating a maintenance program for the daily removal of leaf litter and other flammable waste from around buildings.
- Clearing bark and leaves from roof gutters, timber decks and other areas that may trap embers.
- Enclosing under-floor and under-deck areas with ember proofing
- Ensuring all windows, doors and screens will close and seal to prevent embers and smoke entering buildings.
- Staff becoming familiar with accessing fire information and warnings.
Where practical, schools on tank water are taking steps to ensure water storages are kept full and that buildings are ember-proof.