Fire assistance

The extension of a grant scheme subsidising landholders who invest in fire- fighting equipment is the latest indication residents are now firmly at the forefront of bushfire prevention.
Every major fire starts with a single spark and more often than not it is our farmer firefighters armed with nothing more than a ute-mounted pump and their knowledge of the land who are first on the scene preventing a minor blaze from becoming a major disaster.
While State-funded CFS units are kept well equipped thanks to the emergency services levy, farmer firefighters – often fighting alongside the CFS – are forced to cover the cost of their own gear leaving many heading to the fire front with ageing and unreliable equipment that is often deemed too expensive to replace.
First responders deserve to be equipped with first class resources, so the recent extension of the Regional Capability Community Fund (RCCF) until 2020 is not just great news for farmers, it represents a win for the broader Hills community.
Fire prevention is a collective responsibility and while many once relied on the CFS to keep them safe, the onus is now on every landholder to ensure their property is well prepared and that they are fully equipped to respond to the real threat of bushfire.
There is no doubt the CFS do an outstanding job, but in a major emergency it is simply unrealistic to expect a fire truck at every property.
The more than 30 Hills landholders who jumped at the opportunity to purchase new firefighting equipment in the most recent RCCF funding round represent the kind of proactive thinking that keeps communities safe.
With a further $1m in funding available over the next two years there is no doubt Hills residents will be better equipped than ever – but homeowners mustn’t become complacent.
A new pump will help fight a fire but a properly clean and prepared property could help prevent one all together and with the December 1 start of the bushfire season fast approaching it is important we all remember that bushfire safety starts at home.
Clean your property, know your bushfire action plan and we will all be safer this summer.