Fire planning

With the spring weather in SA see-sawing between rain and cold and hot and windy it can be hard to focus on the upcoming fire danger season.
But the devastating fires in NSW should remind us of just how vulnerable we are to bushfire – even before the height of summer.
One person is dead and more than 200 homes have been lost in a crisis that is far from over.
It is one thing to know you live in a bushfire prone area and it is something else to experience the inferno first hand.
Inside today’s Courier is our annual bushfire feature which outlines the risks residents face in the Hills and how they can plan to take action to protect their properties.
We recommend spending some time not only reading the information but talking about it as a family and making firm plans for different scenarios.
You might plan to leave early but what if you’re caught unaware?
What will you do if you’re at work and the fire prevents you from travelling back from the city to pick up children or animals?
Having a plan of action that everyone in the family is well aware of is the best way to avoid making bad choices or panicked decisions at the last minute.
The need for good planning, preventative action and a calm response are some of the lessons Australians have learned the hard way from disasters such as the Ash Wednesday Bushfires of the 1980s and the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria.
These lessons also enable us to help our neighbors in their time of need. Nearly 100 volunteers from the Hills have been sent to NSW this week to fight the fires.
These volunteers are taking some of their fire trucks, water carriers and command vehicles and are offering not only their skills in firefighting but in incident management.
They are able to head over to another State and slot into a major disaster response because emergency response agencies across the country have learned from the past and now have standardised protocols and systems in place.
What Australia can truly be proud of is that this level of professionalism on the fire ground is delivered largely on the back of volunteers.
These are men and women who give up their time not only to respond to call-outs but to do all the training necessary to use the equipment they are provided with and to work within the management systems set up to handle emergencies.
Somewhere in the Blue Mountains this week there will be a Hills crew giving their time for free, just to help out.
Let’s hope the NSW’s rural firefighters don’t need to return the favor this season.

1 Comment on "Fire planning"

  1. Tony Stevens (NFP) | October 30, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Reply

    Just read the editorial dated Oct 17th in regards the detention centre at Inverbrackie, and believe a minor correction is appropriate. The article suggests that the majority opinion was originally opposed to the establishment of the centre, but has now changed its mind. I suggest that in fact the (generally silent) majority was neutral or in support of the centre – the voices raised in anger at the time belonged to a small minority who didn’t want the centre for personal (rather than sympathetic) reasons. One of the loudest opponents would seem to have been our local MP Jamie Briggs, who is now a member of the new Government – a Government who is focussed on denigrating the asylum seekers to the extent that they want them to be officially called “illegals”. Perhaps it would serve Mr Briggs well to listen to the voices of his constituents, and encourage his colleagues to show more humanity than is evident at present. I for one have a long memory, and will gladly encourage others in this electorate to question Mr Briggs’ actions in the future.

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