Onus on res­i­dents to be fire-ready

Albany Extra - - Ex­tra News - Tim Ed­munds

Al­bany’s vol­un­teer bush­fire brigades are plac­ing the onus back on res­i­dents to avoid com­pla­cency and start pre­par­ing for a po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous bush­fire sea­son.

De­spite the City of Al­bany’s 16 brigades be­ing well pre­pared for the sea­son ahead over the sum­mer months with an in­flux of new vol­un­teers, land­hold­ers in high-risk sub­urbs such as Tor­bay, Robin­son, Lit­tle Grove, Big Grove, Goode Beach, Kal­gan, King River and Red­mond are be­ing urged to plan ahead and pre­pare.

The City along with the Depart­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices has planned a se­ries of street meet­ings with key agen­cies to dis­cuss fire prepa­ra­tion.

City of Al­bany com­mu­nity emer­gency ser­vices man­ager Bren­dan Gor­don said res­i­dents also had re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“We urge res­i­dents in the com­mu­ni­ties to start act­ing now and we want to give as much in­for­ma­tion as we can so they can pre­pare them­selves for the up­com­ing sea­son,” he said. “The brigades are also well un­der way in pre­par­ing them­selves for the up­com­ing sea­son do­ing burn-over drills and mak­ing sure the brigades are ready to re­spond when needed.

“At the mo­ment with this wet weather the fire isn’t go­ing to run re­ally well; how­ever it only takes a week or so to dry out then we are com­ing into the re­sponse phase.

“The more the landown­ers can do the brigades will have a chance to jump on the fires quickly and put them out.”

Mr Gor­don said dan­ger­ous fuel loads would be left when the warmer weather ar­rives cre­at­ing the po­ten­tial for a busy fire sea­son.

To com­bat that, a to­tal of 40 new vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers have joined and been trained in readi­ness

Vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers from the City of Al­bany’s 16 brigades at­tended 124 bush­fires last sea­son equat­ing to 3402 vol­un­teer hours on the fire front.

So far they have at­tended 11 fires with more to come.

“That num­ber of new vol­un­teers is re­ally en­cour­ag­ing to see and we have quite a few young mem­bers join,” Mr Gor­don said.

The Red­mond, South Stir­ling and Born­holm bush­fire brigades have each re­ceived a new heavy­duty fire truck for the new sea­son.

Red­mond brigade cap­tain Phil Dunk­ley said the new $380,000 truck would in­crease fire­fight­ing ca­pac­ity and would be safer with fea­tures such as ra­di­ant heat shields, del­uge sys­tem, in-cab breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tus.

“These have an ex­tra 1000L so ob­vi­ously the more wa­ter we can carry the bet­ter as well,” he said.

The Lit­tle Grove com­mu­nity is in­vited to a bush­fire in­for­ma­tion com­mu­nity chat next Thurs­day from 5pm at the Princess Royal Sailing Club while Born­holm Hall will host an emer­gency pre­pared­ness ses­sion on Sun­day from 10am.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact the City on 6820 3999.

Pic­ture: Tim Ed­munds

Red­mond brigade vol­un­teer Peter Hart, City of Al­bany com­mu­nity emer­gency ser­vices man­ager Bren­dan Gor­don and Red­mond brigade vol­un­teer Phil Dunk­ley with the brigade’s new heavy duty fire truck.

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