Nuff Nuff

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)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

THE Signage - I live in a bushfire prone area

WOW - my jaw hit the dash when I saw this.

I mean I KNOW I LIVE IN A BUSHFIRE PRONE AREA, My neighbours know this also – you’d have to be stupid not to realise this.

Now, I'm being told I LIVE in a bushfire area?

I want to know at what cost? - Is this a local council initiative or something that the State Government has dropped upon us?

Will ALL areas be receiving these signs, or just a few unlucky pockets?

I'd sooner see the money spent on refuges and signage for said refuges than signs like this.

The Yellow one would be 1 METRE tall and 1 METRE across, not even road signage for dangerous intersections is this large.

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

Then expect this sign in YOUR backyard (street) and expect it to immediately devalue YOUR property AND Raise your insurance premiums.

Your thoughts?

Monday, February 7, 2011

2 years to today – Black Saturday Bushfires - We Remember

Today is the remembrance of the Black Saturday Bushfires, fires that changed many people lives, be it those that lost family members, those that lost friends, those that lost property, those that lost animals. None of those losses will ever be forgotten. Not in 2 yrs – not in 10years – not in a lifetime.

I’ve spent close to 2 years trying to make people aware of the dangers of bushfires and yet time and time again I see people waiting until the last minute, or complaining that they only received 20 minutes warning from authorities. Daily Telegraph - Forget you homes, just get out now! Feb 7th 2011 I’m sorry – but you have eyes and ears, you have radio, you have television. Do not lock yourself inside with the Air Conditioner and think “she’ll be right mate, someone will tell me” – Maybe the phones are down, maybe the mobile has a flat battery.

This entire blog is dedicated to those that were lost in the Black Saturday Fires, not because I dwell in the morbid, but because if I can prevent ONE loss of life with the information contained here then I have achieved something

Today we remember 173 people who lost their lives to the Black Saturday fires, don’t let their loss be in vain. Get out whilst you can. If you know the weather is a high risk day, pack up the night before, go to friends houses.

You know the drill – don’t wait until the last minute I beg you

Think of your children, think of your family.


Take care

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What to do if flooded out (or about to be) and the Return AFTER Flooding

I don’t write this post with humour, but sometimes you have to laugh even when you feel like crying.

I’ll put it in point form to try and make it easier to read, I know you are probably under stress.

1. Leave early, if you THINK you’ll be flooded out, or cut off. Don’t wait until the last minute when you may risk you and your familys’ lives

2. Take your cats and dogs with you. If you can’t, make sure they are wearing collars and ID’d to a mobile (not the house phone, you won’t be there)

3. If your animals are larger, a collar OR spray paint a mobile number on their hide. If your horses are wearing rugs, remove them, rugs impede the animals ability to swim and may get hooked up on fences.

4. Turn off gas, power and water

5. Block any sinks with the plug and then weigh down with a sandbag or something similar, this MIGHT stop sewerage coming back through the drains. (Including bathroom floor drains) Include toilet bowls in this also.

6. Take your phone and laptop chargers with you, you’d be surprised at the number of people who forget.

7. Take important documents and photos with you. Things like passports and family photos.

8. Take enough clothes and necessities to last a minimum of 7 days. everything from baby formula to knickers and shoes.

9. If you have room, take you computer Hard drive, leave the screen and keyboard, just the tower, if you haven’t backed anything up.

10. DO NOT cross bridges/causeways unless you know they are stable and the flow of water won’t impede your crossing

11. Notify family and friends when you are leaving, where you are going and what time you are to be expected (allow 1hr leeway) just in case. Call them when you arrive.

12. Make sure you take any medicine you may require

13. It might be some time before you can get back, empty the fridge and freezer, take the food with you OR give it to a neighbour who IS staying. Things gets very smelly with no electricity. Leave the doors open to stop smells and also if the house is flooded, will stop the fridge/freezer becoming a floating hazard outside the house.

13. If you are staying. A fridge only needs to be run from a generator 1 hour in every 4 hours. That’s enough to keep things below room temp and keep things longer.

14. DO NOT charge phones or laptops from a generator, fine electrical items like that, do not like the unstable charge of a generator.

15. A generator chews through fuel, so use as though you may not get fuel for a long time.

16. Use gas where possible for cooking or a BBQ for heating water etc. Water and electricity DO NOT Mix.

17. Boil your water as a precaution, once the water level is more than 1-2 inches deep. JUST in case sewerage has somehow managed to get into the water supply.

18. DO NOT let children play in the flood water, firstly you don’t know what’s dead upstream and secondly there may be a current you are not aware of. This also applies to adults, stay out of the water. The flood water may also contain raw sewerage from flooded septic tanks from council treatment plants.

19. Let the Red Cross know your movements, you are staying, you are going, the number of people ‘lost’ during the bushfires was a critical factor in the number of people initially reported as missing.

20. If you have reported someone missing and the located them, please inform the Red Cross and keep informing them until you see their name removed from lists. During bushfires this caused much distress amongst separated family and friends.

21. Emergency services MAY NOT be able to get to you IF you decide to stay, keep that in mind when making ANY decisions. It may mean no food OR fuel. Keep that in mind.

22. Don't forget you will need batteries and candles for when the power does goes out and also for radios to listen to what is going on in your local area. Whilst you have power charge your mobile and laptops etc, iPods for the kids. Usual routine, Expect the power to go out WITHOUT notice.

23. Solar Panels don't require electricity to work (that's their purpose) Therefore the panels and surrounding cables will be LIVE and could injury to yourself or even death. AVOID at all costs.

24. An old style phone (not requiring 240v) may also be beneficial, sometimes landlines are still working even when the power has gone out. Check your house wiring before assuming this is the case though

25. Check you neighbours, maybe they are elderly and too afraid to ask for help. Offer or do, or if needed bully them out with you. Sometimes you HAVE to do this. The guilt is not worth it after the fact.

26. Upon returning to your premises, assume the house is 'live' with electricity. DO NOT PLUG anything in, UNLESS the wiring has been checked by an electrician and given the all clear.

There may be other articles in this blog that may apply to your current position, Here is one regarding about managing without electricity. Residential Properties Having been through the bushfires, electricity seems so important that the time. You soon realise that not having electricity is not really that important after all. Once you know how to manage!

The Red Cross have published a PDF document that will assist in the cleaning up of flooded properties Cleaning up after Flooding - PDF

And for the geeks of the world, ben-geek has offered this advice Tips for Salvaging Flooded Computer Gear

If you would like to make a donation, 3AW in Melbourne have listed 5 different ways you can help 3AW - Donations Make sure any donations that you do make, are through official channels and that the money will go where intended.

Please take care out there, flooding is just as dangerous as fire.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

40’c at your place? What Council services can you expect?

I covered this some 12 months ago Do Council, Government & Insurance Co.'s have power to shut your business on HIGH fire risk days?

From council offices, to council amenities, schools, day-care centres, possibly even community events.

Don’t forget your electricity supply also Cut my power, cut my ability to make life-saving decisions

Then to find this article in the Adelaide Now Care Factor Nil for Elderly Left Alone - Adelaide Now stating that elderly citizens were abandoned during a day that exceeded 40’c. These elderly people, who have paid their taxes and raised children and helped Australia grow, couldn’t even have a shower, because no-one came to help them.

The response from the agencies involved? “the policy called for systems to ensure family, friends or neighbours checked the welfare of clients on days of extreme heat and fire danger.”

What if they DO NOT have anyone to check their welfare? What then? People don’t use these agencies because they have that people that care about them, or are nearby, they use these agencies as a last resort solution.

I hope and pray that nothing EVER goes wrong.

Please if you have elderly neighbours, OR know someone in this position, please find the time to stop past or even ring to check they are okay. Remember the older generation are proud and will not ask for help. Sometimes you have to just DO IT, for them.