Nuff Nuff

Monday, January 5, 2015

The post I wasn’t going to write about bushfires

I spent Saturday in fear, I spent some of Saturday in tears. The memories were strong. As I said to someone “Already had one crack in my carefully constructed cover today. Can’t have more, too draining to put the demons back in their box”

I was reading some on the vile comments directed at the owners of the Tea Tree Gully Boarding Kennels and they were disgusting. Accusing the owners of not doing enough, of leaving animals to die. The animals were already in a strange environment, the heat would have been distressing them, then the smoke descended. The animals would have been in fight or flight mode and in most cases very aggressive. For the owners to get in excess of 40 dogs out, I believe they did a fantastic job under extremely difficult circumstances.

My biggest concern is in Victoria (and possibly the Blue Mountains in NSW) it is estimated it will take 8 hours to evacuate Mt Dandenong. I don’t think people living there have any idea about how choked the roads will be, I don’t think they have planned ahead about where to go and what to take. What to do with their animals, let alone how to get those animals off the mountain.

At 3am on Black Saturday I found some people in the Coles carpark in Healesville, they had managed to bring a Sheltand pony down from the back of Kinglake in an OPEN 4 x 4 trailer. I’m amazed the pony and the person riding IN THE OPEN trailer (no sides) actually made it down alive.

Imagine being 8 months pregnant and not thinking what to do if a fire was nearby?

Imagine having a 4yo on your hip and you decided to stay?

Imagine not having house insurance and deciding to stay and defend?

Imagine leaving your passports at home and deciding to return to get them?

Imagine the car not having enough petrol and you can’t escape?

Imagine having the windows and curtains shut, the AC on and not realising there’s a problem until the power goes out and the fire is on your front doorstep?

There are ALL true scenarios, I know the outcomes, I haven’t mentioned the location nor the outcomes. Some were good endings, most were not.

Which one are you? What plans have you made?

Are you like the 40yo in Warrandyte who doesn’t need a fire plan, because he ‘won’t be there’

Make a decision, make it early. Get out #LeaveearlyAndLive or make a decision on the day and possibly die.

The deck of cards is in your hands, are you prepared to gamble on the outcome?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It won’t happen to me

Today I spoke to someone, who lives in Eltham, I casually said do you have a bushfire plan?

The response (once again) knocked my socks off.

The response was “Don’t need one” I’m sorry – but YOU do need a bushfire plan.

From March 2013 and the ABC Eltham Bushfires Could Kill Thousands

From a document placed in many letterboxes in the Eltham area (PDF available - Eltham Death Trap PDF )

“The Eltham gateway has many emergency egress problems, which combine to create a high level of risk. The area’s natural south-easterly emergency escape route, is blocked by a river with a single bridge, which is prone to gridlock even in good conditions. Under high heat, smoke and life threatening conditions, the bridge is almost certain to completely gridlock. The next bridge is 13km away by road, while to the west at about 7km by road, a southerly turn of the river allows multiple route suburban egress. That means the Eltham Gateway’s bridge is the only escape route in 20km of road. With only this one bridge to escape the region, people will be trapped and surrounded by flammable vegetation lining the roads.”

Are people really so blind to the risk of bushfires? Or do they expect the CFA to race in on their white steads and rescue them?

Grow up………. Become responsible FOR YOU.

The risk can ONLY be mitigated with you, the risk can be lessened with you. Only YOU can save YOU from bushfire.

Please, please, listen to the weather reports, listen to the fire risks, don’t leave children alone at home and be aware that not only is bushfire a risk, but heat stress is also a risk factor, especially for the elderly. Heat stress/stroke killed more people the week preceding Black Saturday than the Bushfires themselves

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!