• Suggest that your clients check their insurance each year. After an emergency, many people find they are underinsured, which can make it very hard to pay for repairs or rebuilding.

  • Ask them to list their valuables and take photos, if possible, for insurance purposes.

  • Assess trip hazards during any home visit you do. Will your clients be able to get out of their houses quickly and easily?

  • Make a home evacuation plan and practice it with your clients. A plan will help them to make decisions and reduce distress. Remember that, depending on the hazard, some roads may be blocked.

  • Power outages can happen any time. Encourage your clients to have a battery powered radio and torch.

  • Encourage your clients to identify their important documents, like their marriage certificates, license and legal documents. You could help them scan and save these documents to a USB.

  • Remind clients to change the batteries in their smoke alarms each year. If they are renting or in public housing, their landlord or the Department of Housing may do this. If they are in privately owned homes they may be able to use Fire & Rescue NSW's SABRE program.

  • Pack an overnight bag. This is important for unexpected visits to hospital as well.

Tip: prepare the home

Encourage clients to maintain their homes to reduce the impact of an emergency. Some things they can do to prepare their homes, perhaps with help from friends and family, are:

  • Trim overhanging tree branches and remove leaf litter.
  • Clean gutters and downpipes.
  • Secure or store loose items outside.
  • Check roof is in good repair.
  • Do a home safety audit and check smoke alarms.
  • Check building and contents insurancee are current.

The NSW Rural Fire Service's AIDER program is a free, one off service for people who need help to prepare their homes. If your client lives in a bushfire-prone area and has limited domestic support available from family, friends or services, AIDER might be able to help.