Nuff Nuff

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Public Fire Refuges and Bushfires

If you haven’t already figured, I’m very interested in this. In Marysville, during Ash Wednesday (1983) the Oval was the ‘safe’ place. Where the locals gathered, barrels of water, generators and general emergency type stuff. The same place I told my parents NOT to try and take my horse, because he was too unpredictable for them to handle. The roads were closed. I couldn’t get home, no buses running. The phone system was overloaded, mum somehow managed to get a message to my aunty to travel 2 hours to come and pick us up from school and take us back to her place. Horrible times. I was a mere child, but I’ve never forgotten those feelings of not knowing. NEVER.

Not long after that the Marysville Oval was deemed too risky to be used as fire refuge and Marysville was left without an nominated area. Some locals thought the golf Course, others the oval. The confusion was complete. Many did make it to the oval as per the news reports. Many were still there Sunday morning when I got into town.

Come Black Saturday (2009) when I lost phone contact with my parents, this time with hindsight I knew that things were bad. Just not how bad.

Public Refuges do have a place in EVERY township/settlement, I mean every and the councils of the area have no right to deny a township or settlement that peace of mind.

Residents in The Hills area in South Australia (Mitcham Council) are being denied Safe Refuges, because everyone is afraid of being made accountable. Hills & Valley Messenger Newspaper

Back in Victoria there are 9 designated ‘Neighbourhood Safer places’ in the Yarra Ranges area.

The state Government has allocated the amount of $500,000 for the state of Victoria to determine further ‘Neighbourhood Safer Places” That amount from what I can gather, covers the cost of signage ONLY. This is what a sign looks like.

It’s a standard size sign, approx 850mm x 200mm – blue background, white writing. The access to this particular ‘NSP’ was on a bend, and easy to miss on a clear, uncrowded road, I doubt I would be able to find it in heavy smoke or under stress. And the danger of accessing if coming from the north would be extreme, with the oncoming traffic coming around a blind corner.

There was no signage showing me where this site was located, I just happened to stumble across it whilst travelling.

I have just checked the CFA website and found this CFA - Neighbourhood Safer Places - I notice that the Murrindindi Shire/Council ONE NSP in their area. All the way up in Eildon. The Whittlesea Council has ONE NSP in their area. Too few for far too many people.

If the Council or State Governments won’t nominate an area that you will be safe in. Make sure you know where you will go on days of high fire risk. Failure to think about it might cause you to panic and do the wrong thing in times of stress.

Take care out there, no-one but you are responsible for you and your family.


Maralyn said...

You are right - sage advice as always Heather - keep up the good work. Pointless having signs if they can't be seen - bet they're not even reflective!

On edge of town where I am - there are school grounds and playing fields within 3 min walk.

Heather said...

It looked reflective, bit hard to tell, but the size of it, didn;t do the required task. Prhaps I expect too much. I suppose I expected something with great big arrows, maybe 2m in length. Maybe I expected too much?
I don't honestly know, but I do know that WHEN (because it is only a matter of when) there is another big fire. We will still ALL be in trouble

Jayne said...

I'd think the sign could do with being a bajillions times larger - like the CFA signs alerting people of fire danger.

Heather said...

Jayne, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that - I will attempt to go past that location and see if anything has changed since that photo was taken (which I doubt)
Like you - I would prefer a VERY LARGE SIGN, the problem is that the CFA thus the council are under instruction from the Government not to envourage people to gather at these points, which is why they are referred to as last resort and 'safer placer' The CFA openly admit there may not be staff available to protect people who attend (and I can't say I blame them) for this
I lay the blame at the State Governments feet for refusing to be accountable to lack of action and their pandering to the green minority, who think trees are more important than human lives.
AND before someone jumps down my throst, I'm not talking wholesale clearing of road side vegetation, but we HAVE TO BE SENSIBLE.
What else can I say?