In the wake of the devastating Black Summer bushfires of 2019/20, Aussies have been given a lifeline to prevent future destruction of the same scale.
The Bushfire Building Council of Australia announced an app on Wednesday, which allows renters and homeowners to easily gauge how at-risk they are of a destructive bushfire.
Using the app, households will enter their address to assess the risk of bushfire at their location.
Households will then be asked a series of questions about their home and landscaping.
A Star Rating (one-five stars) will then be provided for the property, along with a tailored list of site-specific measures that will help achieve a higher rating, ultimately making their house safer and less flammable.
Former Victorian fire chief Craig Lapsley said the app had been more than 10 years in the making.
“It’s been a decade and it really had to come to a head with the Black Summer fires,” Mr Lapsley said.
Approximately 3,000 homes were destroyed in the Black Summer bushfires, with an unprecedented 1.8 million hectares of land burnt.
Experts warned a parliamentary committee on Tuesday that a repeat of Black Summer was highly likely, as extreme weather events become more frequent and more intense.
CEO of the Bushfire Building Council Kate Cotter said the “number one” predictor for how at-risk people’s homes are during bushfire season is the material their house is made from.
Houses made of non-combustible materials such as brick, concrete, cement and sheet glass are more likely to receive a higher star rating, indicating they are lower-risk.
Meanwhile, houses made even partly of wood are likely to receive a lower rating, indicating a higher risk.
But both Ms Cotter and Mr Lapsley stressed Australians needed to consider the full range of risks they may be subjecting themselves and their families to.
“There‘s lots of things that people wouldn’t think about that can ignite”, Ms Cotter said.
Even if your house itself is not highly combustible, it is likely that structures or objects under or around it are.