Nuff Nuff

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Dangers (Once Again) of Slashing Long DRY Grass

Another hot day, and the last day of summer, another paddock of long grass, a bit of wind and some rocks (common in this area) and you have a fire, once again threatening the suburbs of Melbourne.

 People, PLEASE, if it's hot, if it's windy, if the grass is long and the rocks are hidden, DO NOT slash.

If you HAVE to slash, carry water and plenty of it.

 Make sure your tractor exhaust is compliant (Oh and make sure you have a roll cage)

 Please don't risk my family, your family or your friends, Since 2009 one particular road in the Northern suburbs has had 2 x tractor slashing fires, 1 x industrial fire and 1 x structural fire. All these fires as within 30km of  Melbourne CBD and all except one could have been easily avoidable. Only 1 of these fires was extinguished by the person who caused the fire, what does that tell you?

Check out that fire , it was a tractor slashing accident and it NEARLY caused a fire, thankfully the operator was carrying water.

Yesterday was NOT a total fire ban, but it was high risk day, with winds and heat, add to that a paddock of long grass and hidden rocks and the slasher and you almost automatically have fire (caveman and the flint)

Take care, I like living where I do, but it takes some common sense, not the burn your neighbours house down.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Mickleham Bushfire. (aka Wallan/Kilmore Fires)

I am proud to say (on behalf of ALL Victorians) that there were NO deaths.

Sure houses were lost, along with photos and animals, but NO HUMAN lives.

Thank-you - you listened to the information provided over the previous 5 years.

There are still issues with people being unable to leave big animals, but I do believe these people have now realised, leaving early to a better location is better AND safer, than staying put.

Once again the fires threatened my door, threatened my family, threatened my friends and neighbours. Once again I collected them, like a child collects their favourite toys.

That way I knew they were safe and I felt better knowing that.

Friends in Kilmore watered down and saved their house, without them being there. Friends in Wallan left early and didn’t worry about the house - they were fully insured.

Once again the Southern 80 was taking place and once again my husband and I did the property checks for them

But NO lives were lost, not even in Warrandyte, where many thought they were in 'the city' and didn't have to worry about fire plans.

Did you know that Wallan and Warrandyte are the same distance from the GPO? (35km) Betcha ya didn't know that!

No matter, country or city, if you live in Australia it IS POSSIBLE for you to come under attack from the very Australian Summer risk called Bushfire.

It's not a myth, It can and DOES happen.

So be prepared and you will live, don’t and you could possibly die.

When was the last time you discussed YOUR fireplan with your family?

When was the last time, you thought what to take in case of emergency?

When was the last time you thought about a safe refuge, that as a family you could meet, IF telecommunications where lost?

What plans do have in place, IF you can't load, a website that you consider to a essential to your fire plan?

Think about it, discuss it and remember………. The CFA is only there to protect assets, NOT PEOPLE, NOT PETS, NOT ANIMALS and certainly not fences and the like.

Get out and live or stay and face the possibility you may die if you haven't planned well enough.

Read my blog, comment on my blog, feel free to do so.  It's from my experiences from Ash Wednesday to Black Saturday and beyond. Read it, learn from it and remember only YOU are responsible for YOU. NO ONE ELSE

Stay Safe, the Bushfire season is not over YET. It's only February 2014


Monday, January 2, 2012

Dangers of slashing on a HIGH FIRE RISK DAY

There is a VERY good reason why the CFA state the following:-
Can I drive a vehicle in places where the vehicle will be in contact with crops, grass, stubble, weeds, undergrowth or other vegetation?

Fire Danger Period Total Fire Ban
But only if the vehicle is fitted with an efficient silencing device that takes all of the exhaust from the engine through the silencing device.
You should avoid driving vehicles through dry vegetation in hot and dry conditions, even if it is not a TFB, due to the risk posed by the hot exhaust system.
But only if the vehicle is fitted with an efficient silencing device that takes all of the exhaust from the engine through the silencing device.
This should be avoided wherever possible, due to the extreme fire danger posed by dry vegetation and very hot exhaust systems.

Can I use machinery with an internal combustion or heat engine, such as tractors, slashers, excavating or road making equipment within 9 metres of any crops, grass, stubble, weeds, undergrowth or other vegetation?

Tractor Icon
Fire Danger Period Total Fire Ban
But only if machinery:
  • Is free from faults and mechanical defects that could cause an outbreak of fire
  • Is fitted with an approved spark arrester
  • Carries fire suppression equipment comprising:
    • a knapsack spray pump, in working order, fully charged with water, with a capacity of not less than 9 litres; or
    • a water fire extinguisher, in working order, fully charged with water, with a capacity of not less than 9 litres
  • Tractors fitted with a turbocharger or an exhaust aspirated air cleaner do not require a spark arrestor
As for the Fire Danger Period.
However, if possible, postpone this work, as the risk of starting fires is extremely high.

Because this is the outcome (refer below) - thankfully - there was no damage to other property - But I am positive that this tractor DOES NOT meet half of the above requirements and certainly doesn't meet OH&S requirements. There doesn't appear to be any location for a napsack to be carried and it's scary that people still think "She'll be right mate'

You just need to look at what happened in WA last year, where 71 homes were destroyed. 5th Sept. 2011- SMH - Fire Ban Bungle Sure it wasn't a Total Fire Ban Day (TFB) but certainly there was higher than normal risk of a fire getting out of control. People need to use common sense and personal judgement and ensure that ALL safety measures are taken to avoid fire impacting yourself, your neighbours and even people in other suburbs/towns.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

The TV Bushfire Ads Airing on Commercial TV

I’ve just had the pleasure (not) of watching the new Bushfire Ads, I rarely watch live to air TV for exactly this reason, to avoid media, to avoid news stories, this has become obvious after the Victorian Black Saturday  Bushfires.

I visually saw about 5-10sec and realised it was smoke, I could hear people panicking and then I realised it was one of the bushfire ads, that I have been reading about, in places like this

I lost the plot.

I can smell smoke, my skin is crawling, the sounds, the memories, just because some people will always be dumb, do the rest of society have to suffer?

Remove the ads and save the sanity of those connected to the 173 people that died and the 1000’s that escaped with prior knowledge or by the skin of their teeth.

PULL the ADS before the inevitable occurs and someone is pushed over the edge.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The doors are closed, the horse has bolted and a bushfire approaches.

Scenario One:- Shit, there are flames on the horizon, the power’s gone out, I can’t find the instructions for the manual override on the garage doors, WTF do I do now?

Scenario Two:- The fire’s here, you’re holding the garden hose, suddenly the water stops flowing. Who turned the tap off?

Scenario Three:- You’re watching TV and the air conditioner is on. Suddenly the power goes gone out. You go outside and see the flames. The street is deserted. Where is everyone?

Scenario Four:- The flames are here, the petrol pump is working, the fire hose is pumping. Suddenly the pump cuts out. The car’s packed, but it’s in the garage with the electric roller doors closed tightly.

In all the above scenarios it’s too late to run, it’s too late to hide… What are you going to do?

Solution One:- Put the car OUTSIDE the garage BEFORE the fire approaches, better still leave and go somewhere safe, if you are worried or have a family.

Solution Two:- Don’t rely on town water supply, as the fire trucks hook in and everyone else tries to defend their property, pressure WILL drop. Make sure you have tank back-up with a fire pump and worst-case scenario WITH a riser (gravity fed water) OR get out EARLY.

Solution three:- DO NOT close yourself in high fire risk days, keep in touch with friends and neighbours, make sure you are tuned to the local TALKBACK radio station and listen, look, and live. If you don’t feel capable of defending, GET OUT.

Solution four:- WTF were you thinking? You can’t decide to defend your property and then decide to leave when the bushfire gets too close for comfort. Make a decision and make it early, or die on the road as the road is invisible once the smoke descends.

In all seriousness, listen, look, be prepared and don’t be a last minute louey. Fire warnings are often issued the night before, if not days ahead of time. LISTEN and perhaps save yourself from any of the above situations.

Take care in 2011-2012 bushfire season

Why not take part in the CFA Online Bushfire Information sessions – the next is the 27th November

Don’t be shy, don’t be stupid, take part and possibly save YOUR life!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

3 summers later, nothing has changed regarding Bushfires

Three summers after the terrible bushfires of Black Saturday, people still think it won’t happen to them. People still think that bushfires only affect people on large allotments/farms, that bushfires only affect people who have farm animals.

People need to wake up.

If you live in an area adjacent to park land, adjacent to bushland, many trees around you. If you live in Doncaster, Doreen, Eltham, Greensborough, Inverloch, Mt Dandenong, Nutfield, Red Hill, Templestowe, Tynong, Warrandyte, Yarrambat. I’m sure you get my meaning, If there are lots of trees, lots of grass land or lots of bushland, YOU COULD BE AT RISK.

The emergency services may be under so much pressure they WILL NOT have time to warn you, the fire might be moving so fast, that the update service can not keep up.

YOU the resident, YOU the traveller MUST be accountable for your OWN safety at all times during the bushfire season.

Do not retreat inside, only to come out once the power goes out. By then it could very well be too late….. Too late to save you, too late to save your family, too late to save your animals, too late to get out.

Leave the radio on, listen to the radio, don’t rely on the internet, as the bushfire could have started next door, or just down the road.

Be responsible FOR YOU.

I have spoken to many people over the past 3 years and many live in areas that could very well be affected by bushfires. These people think it won’t happen to them.

One conversation sticks in my mind, “I said where do you live?” He said “Greensborough.” I said “Do you have a fire plan?” His response.. “Nope, don’t need one, I won’t be there when there’s a fire.”

I shook my head. What could I say? I mean why doesn’t HE need a fire plan? WHERE is he going to be? I was shocked beyond belief. He was a mature-aged man, obviously thought that there are enough emergency services around just to cater for him. That is all I could think of. (Insert stunned look here)

There is only ONE person responsible for YOUR safety and that IS YOU. Rely on no-one. Only YOU can save YOU (and your family)

Stay alert and stay safe from bushfires.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Prepare Act Survive – Bushfire Township Protection Plan Meeting

I went to a bushfire meeting tonight, at the local CFA. It was very short notice, only 24 hours from when the notice landed in our letterbox. But I made the time, as I figured it would be a good gauge as to what people are thinking three years out from the 2009 Black Saturday Fires that devastated the state of Victoria.

My thoughts before I entered were split three ways, there would be those that cared a lot, those like me who were there for curiosity value and those that only cared about themselves. I thought it would be an even mix. I was wrong. 80% of the people were only there for themselves. 15% were there out of genuine concern (mostly elderly residents) and then there was the lonely 5%, which was me and perhaps 1-2 others. Who were there for spectator value.
The information provided was exactly what has been provided by news and media outlets for the last two years. There’s been a little bit of tinkering at the edges, but essentially not a great deal has changed.

The things I learned:-
.           There are 140 high risk bushfire areas in the state of Victoria
.           City of Whittlesea are the only council to place THESE signs (which are now incorrectly located due to changes in bushfire overlays)
.           There are only two (2) fire refuges in the State of Victoria (I don’t know where these are located) They are DIFFERENT to NSP’s
.           An unsealed road is often mapped as a track on fire maps. Check with local authorities if your road is marked or not.
.           People who are vulnerable and receive council services, they will be placed on a special watch and evacuation list, but if you don’t received council services you WILL drop through the cracks.
Things I already knew:-
.           CFA only provides key messages and points, not advice
.           Fire doesn’t obey lines on map. Yet people still insist in lines to define areas
.           Pets are not welcome at fire refuges or other areas that you may attend in case of high risk days (Code red Days) Please make other arrangements
.           Make sure you have a telephone that does not require 240V to operate, in other words get a handset that does NOT require power to operate.
.           You will not get a mobile phone warning if your billing address is outside the area affected by fire on the day.
.           Council services will not operate on days of Code Red (Was stated at this meeting)
.           Don’t rely on emergency services to care for your elderly neighbours, they may have fallen through the cracks.
Things in the “will people never learn area” (Sarcasm):-
.           It’s the council’s fault that people don’t leave on high risk days, they don’t want to leave their animals. The council MUST provide shelters are animals friendly (noting the 3 people discussing this were referring to horses)
.           The council should be consulting with people (and groups) who own horses to sort out places they can take the horses on high risk days/
.           Will the CFA web-based site work in the future when it wasn’t in 2009? (when the fire is moving too quickly to track it’s a bit hard)
.           What will old people do? They don’t use the internet or mobile phones. (but they do listen to the radio and TV & have friends not focused on the internet)
.           Apparently growing hay in areas close to the city should be outlawed, as the grass grows too long. (Note that 1st cut hay is done in November) well before the fire season!)
.           Neighbourhood safer places are places of last resort and you should not attend unless the fire is at your heels
.           Dead end roads should have a fire access cut through them to allow for people to ‘escape’ (the problem with is – who will maintain it, who will pay for it and in this area most dead end roads lead north, directly into the likely path of an oncoming fire!)

This meeting got quite out of hand at one stage and a two-fingered whistle has to be used to get the meeting on track.

People seemed only interested in what the emergency services could do FOR THEM… not what people could do to protect themselves or make themselves more aware.

The attendance was very low, BUT considering that there was only 24hours notice, due to Australia Post delays and also being school holidays, attendance was acceptable I think.

The focus didn’t seem to be centred on houses or people, but predominantly animals, and large ones at that, which I found concerning. The biggest danger with horses and cows is that they are unpredictable when it comes to smoke and noise and things that scary for humans. Animals have a fight or flight mode and will use both. Horses at fire refuges are dangerous, yet people refuse to recognise this and still demand equal rights with people.

For me to attend the meeting was possibly not needed, in that I have always had emergency plans in place, I have a generator, fire fighting pump and gravity fed water. I have lived my entire life in high risk bushfire areas and believe I understand the risks involved in staying or going and am capable of making the right decision at the time.

The CFA did a good presentation and having Victoria Police, the local council fire officer and also the local councillor gave the meeting an air of authority.

My only complaint was that as these meetings are CFA area targetted, then it might be a good idea for the CFA to state this on their written material to avoid public upset when people from other CFA areas do attend. (My only complaint)