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Lessons From Fires Past

13 september 2014

 

Introduction:

These notes are from experiences of farmers burned in large Victorian fires over the last 10 years.

These were related at a seminar at Streatham on 10/9/14.

 

Preparation:

Have “carry on finance” insurance cover to purchase replacement livestock, fodder, containment.

Prepare a long term recovery whole farm plan at leisure ahead of time.

Install firefighting water storage with independent pumping systems.

Install sprinkler systems around critical assets.

Prepare firesafe refuges around the farm for livestock (and people).

Train farm staff on their roles on a fire.

Decide well ahead whether to leave or stay and defend. (If staying have a defensible situation)

A wide (grazed) break with no trees around assets reduces the ember attack.

Use concrete fence posts for critical fences.

 

When fire threatens:

Move sheep to refuge areas. Cattle seem to be able to find refuges if no fences.

Check with family/staff that they are in position. Keep in touch frequently.

Activate sprinklers.

Establish alternative contact with local CFA Brigades.

Be aware that police roadblocks may prevent local help coming, or access to other blocks.

 

During the fire:

Do not depend on the fire brigade attending.

Keep local CFA brigades informed of fire progress.

It is essential to be present to save houses.\

Roadblocks may prevent local assistance arriving.

Ensure that CFA control breaks are restored before the fire is declared safe.

 

After the fire:

Do not underestimate the trauma of the day. Take advantage of any support.

Take regular time off with the family away from the area.

Roadblocks may prevent services being restored. (Power, phone, vets, food)

Be aware of the level of injury where vets advise stock destruction.

Keep in touch with insurers and financiers.