NSW Government NSW Rural Fire Service Fire and Rescue NSW

Prepare to Stay Actions Checklist

Defending your home can be physically and mentally demanding. It is important that everyone knows exactly what to do if a fire happens.


Well before the fire has arrived


  • Turn off gas mains and/or bottle
  • Move flammable items away from the house
  • Block drainpipes with socks full of sand and fill gutters with water
    • Don’t get on the roof to hose it down
  • Move animals to a well-grazed or ploughed area away from the house and wind
  • Patrol the house well before the fire arrives to put out embers and spot fires
  • As the fire approaches, wet the side of the house and garden that faces the fire
  • Move your firefighting equipment to a place where it won’t burn inside


  • Close doors, windows and vents
  • Fill baths, sinks, buckets and bins with water
  • Confine pets to one room
  • Place ladder next to roof access hole so you can check for spot fires
  • Soak towels and rugs and lay them across external doorways
  • Move furniture away from windows


As the fire is upon you

  • If flames are on top of you or the heat become unbearable move inside until the fire front has passed (usually 5-10 minutes)
  • Patrol the inside of the house, including roof space, looking for sparks and embers
  • Shelter in a room on the opposite side of the house from the approaching fire and ensure you have clear access to an exit


Immediately after the fire has passed

  • Check the house both inside and out for fires, including roof cavity, under the house, deck, stairs, windowsills etc.
  • If possible, and safe to do so, check all your neighbours are ok
  • Contact relatives or friends to tell them you are safe
  • Patrol your home for several hours, looking for small fires and burning embers
It is not safe to stay with your property under some circumstances, like:
  • If the fire danger rating is Catastrophic
  • There is an Extreme fire danger rating and your home is not specially designed or constructed for bush fires
  • Your property is not well maintained
  • You or the people in your home are not mentally and physically fit and ready

Under these circumstances, you should leave early