Time to get fire ready

Benalla Ensign - - Fire Action Week - By Si­mon Rup­pert

The 2017 fire sea­son is go­ing to start early and the CFA is pre­dict­ing a bad one.

Be­nalla CFA com­mu­nity safety co-or­di­na­tor Phil Rees said it is time for peo­ple in Be­nalla to be think­ing about the fire sea­son, to be get­ting a fire plan in place and to be clean­ing up around the gar­den.

‘‘We turn up to some houses, and you can’t see the front door, we then waste so much time try­ing to get to the Rees said.

‘‘We take much more time try­ing to pro­tect a house that has not been pre­pared for the bush­fire sea­son, than one that has.

‘‘And pro­tect­ing the one that is not pre­pared can slow us down get­ting to a prop­erty where the oc­cu­pier has done the right thing.

‘‘So we ask peo­ple to cut the grass, keep things off the ve­ran­dah, store any com­bustible ma­te­ri­als safely away from the house and house,’’ Mr be wary of might burn.

‘‘So don’t have a wood pile stacked up next to the back door and move pot plants away from the house, they can end up be­ing fire­balls.’’

Phil Rees said the sad truth was the CFA can­not guar­an­tee a fire truck be­ing able to at­tend ev­ery prop­erty in a bush fire sce­nario.

‘‘In the past we’ve seen five light­ning strikes in the one area. We can han­dle one, but we can’t cover that many,’’ Mr Rees said. any­thing that

‘‘When you get five strikes over 25 miles we can’t get a truck to them all quickly enough.

‘‘And we’re only vol­un­teers, so our mem­bers might have to get out of bed at 3 am, then they might be at a job for four to five hours, then they’ll have to go straight to work.

‘‘So the more pre­pared peo­ple are, the eas­ier it is for everyone.’’

An im­por­tant piece of ad­vice Mr Rees of­fers is to not as­sume that you can fight a se­ri­ous fire by your­self.

Al­ways call triple zero im­me­di­ately and only at­tempt to tackle a fire if it is small and you are pro­tected.

‘‘On the news we of­ten see peo­ple in thongs and shorts try­ing to fight fires, but ra­di­ant heat is the big­gest killer,’’ Mr Rees said.

‘‘Ra­di­ant heat is hor­rific, and it’s a killer, so be pre­pared and be care­ful.’’

For help pre­par­ing a fire plan and for general ad­vice visit www.cfa.gov.au

The CFA is pre­dict­ing a hot, dry fire sea­son.

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