Friday, November 20, 2009
I have now come to the end of what I consider to be a vitally important, possible life-saving part of this blog. I believe I have covered everything that I can.
If you think I have omitted something, please drop me a note. I would be only too happy to cover further information or details as requested.
Some people who have read this blog are aware that I was involved in the fires. To what extent I am hesitant to reveal as I am not a hero. I did what had to be done.
The heroes in the events of “Black Saturday” are those men and women who turned out on the day as both paid and unpaid volunteers and assisted those in need and fought the fires and saved the lives of many people.
This is my way of saying thank-you.
I am sorry that the Royal Commission seems to portray you, the people at the front of the firing line as people who did not know what you were doing. I don’t believe this to be the case. You did what you were ordered to do and had to do to save lives and property.
I have heard first-hand many stories of self-less acts of bravery, which saved the lives of many men, women and children.
If you are a reader of this blog, please leave a note of thanks to the boys and girls in the emergency services, who may have saved a friend, a family member or even your dog. Be it now, or in the future.
And please stay tuned for more posts tomorrow, the day after and the day after that!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Ask yourself these questions:-
1. Are you physically fit?
2. Are you mentally able to cope with the noise and possible devastation?
3. If you have children, do you have someone outside the area who can look after them?
4. Is your block surrounded by cleared lands?
5. Is your house roof clear of overhanging trees and branches?
6. Are you able to get onto the roof and block the gutters?
7. Is your house built on relatively flat land?
8. Is your house on a slab OR stumps? If stumps,is underneath of your house clear?
These are SOME of the things you MUST consider, There are many other factors to determine if you go or stay. It is not for me to determine your choice. Only YOU can make that choice.
If you answered Yes to the above Questions – then it is possible you have a better chance of saving your property.
If at any time in the past you have suffered from asthma or a heart condition, I believe you have to leave. I can’t stress this enough. The air is thick with smoke and flying embers, the heat is unbearable.
Here is a re-cap of all my posts over the last couple of weeks, from what to do and what not to do.
Things not to do when a bushfire is approaching
You can feel a sense of de-ja vu in the air
Things NOT to do when confronted by a bushfire
The Fire Season and the Procrastinator
Things to do months, weeks, years ahead of an approaching bushfire
Are YOU prepared for a bushfire?
Be Prepared or Prepare to Die
The threat of bushfires, your family and particularly home alone children
Children in the care of others, during CODE RED bushfire danger days (Victoria, Australia)
CODE RED affected schools (Victoria, Australia)
Fire bunkers – are they safe?
Caught in Car During a Bushfire
Animals and Bushfires
If you don’t feel able to stay and defend, leave, tell your neighbours, take your valuables with you, take your animals with you.
If you have water, let the local CFA know that you have water, if you are able – sign post that water, so the CFA are able to locate it. Don’t be selfish, it could be your house they are trying to save.
Take care and remember that the fire season of 2008/09 cost the lives of many and taught those that survived how to make survival a little easier.
Do not let their lives be in vain. Remember life is precious and family more so.
Take care out there
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Education Dept Bushfire Affected Schools - Link Updated 28th Oct 2013
I have only selected those suburbs that are considered suburbs of Melbourne. These suburbs are within commuting distance of the CBD.
Beaconsfield Upper, Belgrave (and surrounds), Bendigo (and surrounds), Blackburn, Boronia, Burwood, Carrum Downs, Christmas Hills, Cockatoo, Creswick, Croydon (and surrounds), Diamond Creek, Doncaster East, Donvale, Eltham (and surrounds), Endeavour Hills, Ferntree Gully, Frankston (and surrounds), Gembrook, Greensborough, Hoddles Creek, Hurstbridge, Kallista, Lilydale, Lower Templestowe, Mernda, Mill Park, Monbulk, Montrose, Mount Dandenong, Narre Warren, Olinda, Pakenham (and surrounds), Research, Riddells Creek, Rosebud (and surrounds), Wantirna (and surrounds), Warrandyte (and surrounds), Wonga Park
If you have children in care, be it crèche, kindergarten or primary or secondary school in these areas, you will need to make alternate care arrangements for your children.
Refer this post for possible options CODE RED affected schools (Victoria, Australia)
Remember you will be leaving you children in the care of others, are you prepared to take the risk? – Read here - Children in the care of others, during CODE RED bushfire danger days (Victoria, Australia)
And remember, IF the school bus passes through any of these areas, the buses will not be running either, as per the Dept of Education website http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/bushfires/closure/default.htm
Please take care and remember nothing is more precious than the life of your children.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Have you thought about the responsibility factor of leaving your children in the care of another person, with the possibility of them being responsible for your children when you are not around?
It’s all fine and well to assume nothing will happen, but to assume something generally means you make an ass of yourself.
I’m not sure I would like the responsibility of caring for someone else’s child on such a high risk day, yet if you are a working parent, can you afford to take the time off? – I have also covered this here (from an employers’ perspective) Small business and your duty of care
You need to weigh up your options, I suppose it’s a lottery of sorts, ‘The money or your life’ or in this case your children’s life.
I know I keep harping on the matter – but I still think people are not taking the risk seriously enough.
People think that because they live in the suburbs they are safe – well the Government thinks otherwise, here are some of the suburbs listed as being CODE RED, do you live adjacent to or in these suburbs? Then consider yourself AT RISK – Eltham, Belgrave, Bendigo, Blackburn, Boronia, Carrum Downs, Coldstream, Doncaster East. See what I mean? Some of these suburbs are only 10-15km away from the CBD of Melbourne.
Don’t play ostrich, this is life and death, of you, your children, your family and friends.
Make your decisions and stick with it – Remember life is precious
Friday, November 13, 2009
As a parent, you will need to make alternate arrangements for the care of your child/ren. This is VITAL that is arranged as soon as possible. Organise NOW.
Please DO NOT leave your children home alone. If something were to happen, you would not forgive yourself. IF you can stay home with the children, then that is best alternative.
If you are leaving your children with family or friends, make sure they are able to safely transport your child (and theirs) from the area IF the need arises. I am talking seat-belts, cars. DO NOT pretend nothing will happen. It may, it could. DO NOT risk your childrens’ life for the sake of a few dollars
Remember your children may be scared, they may be afraid of the fires, that may never happen. You MUST NOT scare them, You must not convey your fear to them.
No. 1 – identify if your school is one of the schools affected – here is the link to the Dept of Education website. http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/bushfires/register.htm
No. 2 – You will be given a warning of up to 3 days, BUT if the weather changes suddenly, you may only have 12 hours notice (midday the day prior) of CODE RED day OR cancellation of said notification.
No. 3 – Arrange care for child/ren ASAP – this will reduce the stress on the child AND reduce the stress on yourself. NEVER leave a child at home, regardless of their age. IF something were to happen – you would never forgive yourself and I can guarantee that the police will not let you back home through the road blocks, if there is the threat of danger.
No. 4 – IF your child travels by bus, through an area deemed “CODE RED” to a school NOT affected by “CODE RED” the buses will NOT BE running on that route. Again find out from the bus company IF your route is affected and make plans accordingly.
No. 5 – If there are activities planned for outside the school grounds, it is likely these will also be cancelled. Be prepared for last minute changes.
No. 6 – if you don’t feel comfortable sending your child to school because of the risk of fire, even though a “CODE RED” day has not been announced. Keep your children home, with you
No. 7 – Make sure you discuss with your children what to do IF something goes wrong and you are not home – refer this conversation with my daughter. The threat of bushfires, your family and particularly home alone children
No. 8 – Family is more important than money – DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT think it won’t happen to you – because it did happen to 173 people and I don’t wish that upon you.
Please take care and remember your children choose your nursing home, so make sure they are around to do that for you.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
1. Do you own a car? Yes/No
2. Do you own a TV? Yes/No
3. Do you own Property? Yes/No
4. Do you rent a property Yes/No
5. Do you own a computer? Yes/No
6. Do you own a motorcycle? Yes/No
If you answered yes to ANY Of these questions – then you should have insurance.
If you answered yes to 1 or 6 – you should have full comprehensive vehicle insurance – let me tell you why – If you have an accident, then you are covered for replacement vehicle (at market cost) all damage is covered, even of the other driver doesn’t have insurance. No court problems, no out of pocket expenses, only the excess. If you ONLY had 3rd party fire and theft. You would have to pay for a replacement vehicle AND if you have a loan for the vehicle, not only will you have cost of the loan, but the cost of buying a new car!
If you answered yes at 2,4,5 – then you should have contents insurance (unless you are still at home with mum and dad). If (let’s cross our fingers, there is not) that you have a building fire. Regardless of what happens, you pay 50% of the cost of the fire brigade turnout and also the standby costs. Not a pretty thing even if you are employed. Last I heard $1500.00 per QUARTER hour PER truck. - Can you honestly afford that?
If you answered yes at 3 – then you should have building insurance, again if there is a building fire. You have to pay 50% of the fire brigade turn-out costs.
The NSW bushfires of 2001/2002 – 31% of buildings were NOT insured and the rate was far higher for contents. This is mostly due to a misconception that the owner of the property takes out contents insurance also. THIS IS NOT THE case.
Also under-insurance is a big problem. The cost of rebuilding is NOT the cost to purchase the property, nor the cost of just re-building per square foot, you must also include site clearance etc, which is a genuine cost of re-building.
Assess your building and contents on a yearly basis, make it a habit to check the CPI rate and also if you have added new assets/renovated your house in the past year.
Vehicle insurance, make sure you are covered for new for old for the first 12 months of a brand new car. Check the policy costs and added benefits and compare the best value BEFORE committing.
Insurance saves a lot of heart-ache – remember that!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
In theory these bunkers are a good idea – in real life perhaps not so good.
The 7th of February saw 7 people die in bunkers – the causes not released to the public. In saying that there were many people that used bunkers and did survive.
There is documented evidence that a home-made bunker designed to save, almost killed one resident. Who upon entering the bunker found that once the door was closed, the bunker filled with smoke, whilst the oxygen was sucked out.
The placement, site location, whether under roof eaves, the location of trees and other large objects may cause problems when trying to exit the bunker AFTER the fire front has passed
The possibility of air being sucked out of the bunker is another issue – rarely touched upon – but just as important. A human being is unable to survive without air.
There is (was) a bunker north-east of Melbourne that when inspected after the fire – the occupant would not have been able to survive. The temperature inside the bunker melted everything. Thankfully the expected occupant left the area prior to the fires approach and survived defending his property.
I am neither condoning nor supporting the use of bunkers – but if YOU MUST build a bunker or pay someone to do it – ensure that some basic guidelines are followed, as there are NO government/council guidelines/laws established to date.
- The bunker entrance/exit is far enough away from building structures and trees that the entry/exit cannot be blocked by falling debris.
- Ensure that you have ample FRESH water to prevent dehydration.
- Ensure that the entry/exit allows for easy access to determine if safe to exit.
- Ensure that the bunker is big enough to accommodate the number of people you desire.
- Try and stop all external air flow from the bunker and stop all smoke-laden air from entering the bunker.
- Ensure you have lighting that doesn’t consume oxygen (i.e. no candles).
As stated previously in theory bunkers are a good idea. Personally I don’t support them, simply because I have a dread of dying where I may not be found for days/weeks after a fatal event.
People and families did survive in bunkers – I am not denying that.
I suppose I would rather die fighting, not fleeing or huddled in an underground cell waiting for death.
Please take care and remember a life cannot be replaced, buildings and cars can be.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
This post is in memory of what has been lost – This photo was taken by a 12yo – without the intervention of an adult. He was allowed to wander around town as he has done since the age of about 6yo.
He and his dog (grandparents dog) are recognized and many people say hello simply because he’s hanging onto the other end of the leash.
This piece of art somehow managed to survive the Black Saturday Fires as they are now known. He is a sculpture done by Bruno of Bruno’s Sculpture Garden, – He is titled the 'Hiking Man' I believe
I imagine him looking over and protecting the township and its people.
He’s been removed for safe keeping whilst the re-building occurs. He will be back and will stand as a reminder for eternity of what was lost on the 7th February 2009.
Once again this photo was taken by the same child, now 13yo and this is what the 'Hiking Man' looked like shortly after the fires devastated Marysville and before his removal to a safe place in preparation for clearing the ground he stood on.
Let us not forget those that didn't make it - Don't become complacent. Don't let their deaths be in vain. Read what you find here, assess your situation and remember you are responsible for your own actions.
Stay safe. Today is another 35'c here in Melbourne and surrounds. It only takes one idiot to ruin our lives forever.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
You are embarrassed, you are ashamed.
You are suffering survivors guilt.
You avoid the main roads, you avoid public meetings. You avoid the life that you once knew.
It is all too hard. You want to know why you have been saved and so many have not.
You have passed your years, you have done your time. Why were the children taken so early, they had not lived their life, they had not seen life.
It is not fair.
You help where you can, but wonder if your help is not wanted, due to the fact you have lost nothing and they have lost all.
What do you do? What can you do? Will the place you have known for 40 years ever be the same again?
Will you ever be able to shop in your home town again?
Will you ever be able to buy petrol in your home town again?
Will those that left to find a roof ever come back again?
There are so many questions and so few answers.
Nobody is prepared to give answers, nobody is prepared to step up and be accountable.
Can you survive the guilt?
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
It’s amazing what the smallest thing can cause you to recall at the strangest times.
The morning of the fires, I came around this corner, there was an almighty tree across the road, obviously the smoke and fire that goes with being in the middle of a catastrophic event like Black Saturday.
I turned the same corner today and saw the stumps of the trees and was thinking about that horrible morning. When all of a sudden a light dust cloud swept across the road, accompanied by the smell of smoke. I almost panicked.
The only thing that stopped me slamming on the brakes was that my partner was riding shotgun, whereas before I was alone.
The dust was from the cleared ground due to fire cleaning up and the smoke was due to a fire that had been lit to burn off the tree stumps and rubbish that had been graded into a pile.
I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like for someone who has lost family in Black Saturday. How do they cope on a daily basis?
I was lucky - only lost friends, not family. I couldn't imagine
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
This is the truth – but if you are going into a bushfire prone area (anything with the word bush in it, would indicate that) you must take with you – Woolen blankets, sturdy gloves, sturdy shoes, water (and plenty of it) These are the bare minimum. I carry these with me all the time – they are handy not just for bushfires but for road accidents, spills, there are many many uses.
If you are caught in the unfortunate position of being in the car whilst an active fire is approaching DO NOT LEAVE the vehicle. Remain in the vehicle. IF you are able to see (which often you can’t) a building preferably made of brick; approach that building IN THE CAR. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE. Once you can positively determine you can access the building ONLY THEN, exit the vehicle. BUT ONLY IF YOU CAN 110% confirm access to the building with no time to spare.
If you cannot see a building, move to the side of the road, preferably with the front of the car facing the oncoming fire, somewhere clear of leaf litter and overhanging trees IF POSSIBLE. Somewhere like an oval, a car park, a paddock. Turn your headlights on, turn your hazard lights on. Turn the engine OFF, which is recommended by fire authorities. Wind up the windows and try and seal the vents as best you can, to prevent smoke entering the vehicle and hopefully stop the air being sucked out.. Make sure you can access the water, gloves, and woollen blanket, this is now what might just save your life.
Radiant heat is what kills a majority of people, before the flames even reach you. AT NO STAGE leave the vehicle, even if the plastic starts melting. Remember anything metal and plastic inside the vehicle will be RED-HOT and possibly melting. Grab the blanket, hopefully one for each occupant (Dreaming I know) Wrap it as tight as possible, covering fingers, ears, hands and feet. Get as low in the vehicle as possible, this will negate some of the radiant but not very much. DO NOT LEAVE THE VEHICLE AT ANY STAGE. YOU WILL DIE.
Once the front has passed – the ground will be black, and the active flame will have passed, objects will still be burning, but you will be stepping out onto blackened ground. REMEMBER EVERYTHING WILL BE HOT. PLASTIC WILL BE MELTED. The door could very well be melted in place, so be very careful. Exit the vehicle with EXTREME caution or you will be burned by hot metal OR molten plastic from the car trimmings.
DO NOT leave the area of your vehicle, the closer you stay the sooner you will be found. Remove from the vehicle anything you require, water, phones, food, anything that can be of any use. REMEMBER HOT, You have survived this far, do not be stupid. Sometimes the car tyres will be on fire. DO NOT WASTE YOUR water. Leave it burn. The car will be written off anyway because of the melting.
DO NOT LEAVE THE AREA OF THE VEHICLE. You will be found.
The area will still be extremely hot, keep the blanket around you, sip water and wait. DO NOT LEAVE THE AREA.
Please keep in mind that people perished because they left too late and when they went to access the vehicle, they were unable to do so, because the handles were too hot, OR the door had already melted shut. This is the sad truth. I saw cars keys in the ignition, with the trim melted, hub caps, but the tyres were still intact and I know that people died - Those cars were their last chance to get out and it was too late.
Pay attention to your surroundings, pay attention the weather, if you don’t think you can protect your property, both mentally and physically GET OUT and GET OUT EARLY. Do as the fire services recommend AND GET OUT.
Do not place your family in the position of danger or not knowing. It is not worth it.
Monday, November 2, 2009
DO NOT rely on help coming to you when you need it.
DO NOT use the bathroom as a refuge – it has no external doors and could be a killer.
DO NOT use a body of water elevated above ground level as a refuge – it could rupture.
DO NOT wait until the flames are visible before leaving your property.
DO NOT knowingly drive INTO the flames, people could be trying to escape and be on the wrong side of the road.
DO NOT continue to drive when the smoke gets too thick, even experienced fire-fighters have missed turn-offs.
DO NOT wear any man-made material that could melt, when fighting fires.
DO NOT wear thongs, singlets and t-shirts.
DO NOT leave animals in cars, waiting until the last moment, the heat or smoke may kill them, if the flames don’t.
DO NOT think that once the initial fire front has passed the danger is over. It could come back at you with a wind change.
DO NOT rely on mobile phone communications, when the fire comes it takes those towers out.
DO NOT rely on friends and family being able to come to your rescue as the fire approaches.
DO NOT rely on electricity or water supplies, they could fail at ANY time.
I know I keep nagging and perhaps you are getting sick of it – but if ONE person, only ONE person, manages to remember anything from this blog – and it aids in their survival then I have succeeded in saving one persons’ life.