Friday, 16 November 2007

Are you ready if there’s a fire?

IMPORTANT UPDATE (October 2013): Since this blog was written about the fire risk in our district way back in 2007, there have been significant, national changes to policies, procedures and safety advice, largely due to research, forensic evaluations and a royal commission conducted after Victoria’s tragic February 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. Also, many of the links in this blog have expired, so please follow this link to see the latest information and links on my new blog. Please make sure your household is bushfire prepared and stay safe.

IN late September, the Pine Rivers Shire Council organised a well-attended community meeting at the south-western end of Fred Campbell Drive to address fire safety issues. Representatives from the metropolitan fire brigade (Queensland Fire and Rescue Service) and our bush fire brigade (Rural Fire Service) were on hand to provide expert advice, suggestions and answers to plenty of questions from the audience.

Residents heard a range of handy tips that related to:

  • long-term fire precautions (including making our properties safe and the PRSC’s patchwork approach to periodic hazard-reduction/regeneration burns throughout the Dawn Road Reserve)
  • preparing our homes ahead of the peak bushfire season in spring and early summer (including a handy pre-summer checklist which is accessible online)
  • making the decision well ahead of time whether you will
    - stay and defend your home (incl. list of equipment to keep with your evacuation kit)
    - or go – and go early – to ensure a safe evacuation
  • what to do as the fire approaches, when it arrives, after it passes and if you are caught in your car
  • understanding how fire-fighting resources are deployed, especially in a major fire event.

One of the most valuable suggestions made at the meeting was for residents to access a free service where local fire officers will assess your home and its surrounds for fire safety. To book a free Operation Safe Home inspection, call 1300 369 003 or go online.
Most importantly, all agencies wanted residents to remember that if they find themselves in a bushfire emergency – or see a fire burning – to call 000, rather than the nearest metropolitan or bush fire brigade station, and tell them you are calling about a fire. Other important advice included to call early, give your exact location, advise the best access to the area, what you can see and your name and contact details.

Finally, the law in Queensland stipulates that the ultimate decision to evacuate will fall to either the Queensland Police Service or the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service. They will make that decision based on how well your property/neighbourhood is prepared, how fierce/dangerous the conditions are and what resources are available to assist property owners fight the fire. Residents are obliged to observe their instructions, which will be issued with their personal safety in mind.

Useful fire safety websites
Much of the detail discussed at the September 23 meeting is available online at various helpful websites that are listed below. Here you will find especially useful information, including what items to have on hand if you are caught in a fire – or decide to stay and defend your home. They’re certainly worth considering well before you find yourself in that position.

Pine Rivers Shire Council’s Bushfire management page

Bushfire prepared communities

Make a bushfire plan

Preparing your property

Protect your property against fire

Protect yourself

Immediate threat

Go early


Stay and defend

Essential equipment

Maintaining smoke alarms

Blazer’s fire safety tips for kids

Blazer’s tips for parents

Trina McL

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