Websites on Fire Alerts around Australia

Please  EXPAND THE POST BELOW for a List of official websites.   Click on the words “See more …  ”  in the Facebook Post.

REMEMBER, have your medication, ID, pets & valuables ready and your car with petrol in it, your mobile telephone charged and with credit, and take a radio with you, if you need to evacuate to a friend’s or family member’s house to get to Safety.

DON’T DELAY –   WATCH & ACT  doesn’t mean hang around watching, it means  LEAVE  for safety then “watch” for when you can safely return to your house.

Write down the phone number to receive updates from the Fire services or Department in your State, and take it with you.   IF you have nowhere to go to, go to a Police Station or to the Beach.   The Fire Department may set up a temporary Evacuation Centre for your area, which you can find out about on ABC Radio or getting in touch by phone with the Fire services in your State or with the Police, or getting this information from the Internet.

 

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Fire-fighter Volunteer Shortage

SFA posted on an ABC Emergency FB post in reply to a news report that DFES (Western Australia) are worried that volunteer fire-fighters leaving, will not be replaced, and will jeopardize the response to fires next fire season. 

Read the article & watch the Video below.

http://www.abc.net.au/radio/perth/programs/mornings/volunteer-shortage-could-put-wa-emergency-services-in-jeopardy/8517558

We did our research & discovered that DFES won’t be recruiting career / paid fire-fighters in W.A. probably until 2019.   If you look at their website you will see they have 2 intakes per year usually each with about 24 trainees.

Yes, nobody needs to tell us that it costs a lot of money to train these fire-fighters and then it costs money to actually pay them.

As at today the DFES website states that there are 1123 career Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) firefighters in Western Australia (WA) who provide firefighting, fire prevention, safety and rescue services throughout the state.

FRS firefighters are responsible for:

Source:  https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/aboutus/operationalinformation/Pages/fireandrescueservice.aspx

They also state that West Australians (WA) in rural and pastoral areas rely heavily on Bush Fire Brigades (BFB) for protection against the threat and devastation of fire.

Over 22,000 Bush Fire Brigades bush fire service volunteers protect WA from bushfires through fire prevention and risk management, fire suppression and fire safety education.

Not all of the volunteer work involves active fire containment or rescue activities. DFES provides training for fire education programs that involve volunteers visiting schools, service groups, seniors’ homes and local businesses to promote safety messages.

Some BFBs on Perth’s urban bushland fringe also operate as Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS) brigades, taking additional responsibility for fires involving structures, chemical spills and assisting with road crash rescues.

Source:

https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/aboutus/operationalinformation/pages/bushfireservice.aspx

List of Brigades:   http://avbfb.org.au/was-emergency-services/brigade-details/

On top of this there are over 2,500 Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS) members from 92 brigades in Western Australia who provide firefighting and prevention services throughout the state.

VFRS firefighters undertake a range of responsibilities including:

https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/aboutus/operationalinformation/Pages/volunteerfireandrescueservice.aspx

https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/contactus/pages/frsvolunteers.aspx

Now here is a transcript of the ABC report mentioned, and Comments so far, with SFA’s inital reply and notes.

ABC Emergency

Friday 12 May 2017

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services WA is warning a shortage of volunteers could impact on its ability to respond to emergencies, particularly in country areas.

The department loses 300 volunteers each year but that number will increase as it’s ageing volunteer workforce retires.

In some country areas, there are only two or three people in a unit.

Person A.   We have 6 active members in my brigade. One is leaving the area soon, so 5. Only one member is under 50. Two of the 5 work out of the area during the week. We need more school based training to develop and encourage the younger generation to step up. This is happening in some areas but I’ve always hoped it could be rolled out in every high school.

Person B.  My 12 year old daughter had her first training night as a junior member last night.

SFA’s reply:    Why aren’t there more paid Fire-fighters then? Don’t lives matter enough for the career fire-fighter numbers to be boosted??

Person C.   There are 26,000 volunteers covering the vast expanse of WA. It would be incredibly expensive to pay them all.

[ SFA note:   We never said PAY all of the volunteers.  Didn’t we say can’t more fire-fighters be recruited &  paid,  and NOT  can’t 26000 fire-fighters be recruited and paid  ]

Person D.  You could have paid FF if your rates can cover the cost. In rural areas that’s a prohibitive cost, hence the volunteers, Australia’s people led solution to remote or rural living.

SFA note:  What price is set on saving lives?  With volunteer fire-fighters leaving in droves in W.A. & not being replaced, the Solution needs a solution.  Did anyone read the actual News report?  Yes we know alot of money is involved for maintaining  ALL emergency and support services in any State of Australia, but what emphasis does the collective want to put their money on?

If it is on the next Apple i-Phone or on one car each per family member and the like …. so be it at the expense of diminished Emergency Services, at times of increasing fire risk.

Person E.  It’s not just about fire either. SES and marine rescue are volunteers too and are dealing with the same issues.

Person F.   You’re going to have paid firefighters in towns that are lucky to get one fire call a month?

[  SFA note:   Here is where we had a ROFL reaction.   Wouldn’t you say “where they are un-lucky to get a fire call a year”  –  do people realise Fire-fighters do more than putting out fires?  Did the original Comment say “train & pay thousands of fire-fighters and stick them in the regional towns??”   Think outside the box !!  ]

Person G.  Sadly this is the case for many agencies that provide support in emergency events. School based education & training is the way to go.

Person H.  We need to remember that so much of our society now is directed away from the community and towards individual success, our current government sends out this message all the time.  So many jobs now do not allow time or support for volunteers because they are operating on thin margins and minimum workforce numbers.

The leaner meaner society comes at a cost and this is just part of that cost.

Person I.  They should offer incentives like nationally accredited training that can then be used to help volunteers with their career or job search. As a firefighter I’m trained to respond to structure fires, MVAs, HAZMAT, Urban search and rescue but I don’t have any usable qualifications meaning the fire wardens where I work are more qualified than I am.

Person F.   All your training should already be nationally accredited, that’s what all those letters and numbers on your certificates indicate.

[ SFS note –  there is no need Person F to be sarcastic, get your facts right on both occasions, and why the heck have such an aggressive attitude??  This is supposed to be a civil dialogue with a vested and shared objective / purpose.  By the way HAZMAT refers to a chemical spill, not to the name of a Degree.   ]

Person I.  Volunteers only get issued with DFES certificates

Person J.  Only 1 course I have done is nationally accredited DFES doesn’t believe they need to meet national standards.

And people are leaving because of the new stupid training pathway.

*****************************************************************

 SFA:  Talking to local people, even they are saying there needs to be incentives for volunteer fire-fighters.  The average person understands the many issues here.  Many would like the small number of paid fire-fighters recruited in W.A. to be boosted a little, and certainly want an intake in 2017 and / or in 2018 !!   Has the Premier spent so much money that the State can’t afford to recruit Fire-fighters??   Priorities of the State don’t include recruiting Fire-fighters ??   More paid fire-fighters will complement the dwindling volunteers.

DFES needs to run nationally accredited courses and provide easy training pathways, for volunteer fire-fighters.

SFA will be putting ideas to DFES and the W.A. Premier for incentives, as a possible solution to get new and young volunteer Fire-fighters in Western Australia.  We will be writing to DFES to ask why there will be no intakes of paid / career Fire-fighters in 2017 or 2018.

Also what is critically needed in Western Australia is for the 14 Recommendations of the Harvey-Yarloop Euan Ferguson Report to be implemented,  ESPECIALLY  FIRE PREVENTION  through mechanical and other fuel reduction. 

Please write to both DFES and to Parks & Wildlife about fuel reduction.

It’s time to stop sticking your head in the sand ….. thinking someone else will campaign enough for you.  People power is needed to get things done, otherwise more Lives will be lost.  A ground-swell of voices is needed.

https://publicsector.wa.gov.au/waroona-bushfire-special-inquiry

https://thewest.com.au/news/harvey-waroona-reporter/volunteer-body-refutes-ministers-claims-ng-b88444501z

Prevent_Fires

 

Fire Tent trial in Western Australia

As Western Australia moves on from its most disastrous bushfire season in recent memory, a new fire protection system developed in the state’s south is headed to the eastern states for further testing.

The brainchild of Denmark volunteer firefighter and inventor Chris Probert, the Shadrach Burn Over protection unit is a tent-like, heat-resistant structure designed to quickly fold down and protect people from fast-advancing fire fronts.

There are already fire protection mechanisms on fire trucks in Victoria and other States, but this Fire Tent or “Burnover Protection Unit” is truly innovative and unique.

Read more at the Link below.  Go to Chris’ You Tube channel also.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-13/innovation-on-the-cards-as-wa-looks-to-bushfire-season/7625032

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has also played a role in the Shadrach’s emergence, tipping in $15,000 to fund the project.

While conceding it was a key contribution, Mr Probert said the fact they were willing to contribute at all was the most significant factor.

Controlled burning and fuel load mitigation looms as the other key issue, with both the Ferguson Report and the Major Incident Review into November’s Esperance Bushfires recommending a more efficient approach.

Esperance’s State MP Graham Jacobs said improvement was clearly needed.

The Harvey – Yarloop Ferguson Inquiry

Mr Ferguson said the initial response to the attack was “reasonable”, however the incident management team “missed cues” to raise the alert to a level 3 incident management.

It was also found there was a failure to issue specific warnings to the community at Yarloop and Cookanup when the fire was critical.

“There is a strong argument that the state needs to readjust expenditure away from fire response and recovery, towards a greater investment in prevention and fuel hazard management,” Mr Euan Ferguson said.

http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/premier-colin-barnett-releases-ferguson-report-into-waroonayarloop-bushfires/news-story/4ea72b9d9b0d36463ca4adfeda625374

Download the Ferguson report   HERE

Independent Inquiry into Yarloop fire

The W.A. Emergency Services Minister, Joe Francis announced on 12 January 2016 that an  independent review will be conducted into the management of the massive South West fires that destroyed the town of Yarloop.

Read more  HERE

The West Australian Newspaper Editorial calls for a thorough investigation, including answers to many questions to inform West Australians living in such a fire prone region of the Earth.   We hope that journalistic discovery will prompt such revelations to the community, and that the media will further research this serious issue.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/30548268/wa-needs-bushfire-answers/?cmp=st

https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/30553143/full-inquiry-must-answer-fire-questions/

UPDATE

The Report has now been released and can be downloaded   HERE

Lessons of Past Lost

Two of WA’s most respected authorities on bushfire management say the State is in no better shape to defend towns from disaster since the far-reaching Keelty reports earlier this decade.

John Iffla, who was awarded an Emergency Services Medal in the 2014 Australia Day honours for co-ordinating volunteer groups’ responses to the reports, said the key recommendation of installing bushfire protection zones around towns had been ignored.

The criticism was echoed by Bushfire Front chairman Roger Underwood, a retired general manager of the former Department of Conservation and Land Management, who said WA had “gone backwards” since Dwellingup was destroyed in 1961.

Read the full story   HERE

New South Wales has Australia’s first fire-fighting robot

A fire-fighting robot that can sweep away obstacles and clear smoke from burning buildings is the latest weapon being used to fight fires in New South Wales this summer.

NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliot and Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins have unveiled Australia’s first remote-controlled firefighting robot, the Turbine Aided Firefighting machine (TAF 20).

The TAF 20 has bulldozer blades capable of moving cars out of the way and a high-powered fan to blow away smoke.

It can also spray water mist or foam from 60 metres and blast water for 90 metres.

Read the full News Article at:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-10/australia’s-first-fire-fighting-robot-unveiled-for-summer/7017660

Fire Lookout Trees – Volunteer Fire Fighters of N.S.W.

Mick Holton from the Volunteeer Fire Fighters of New South Wales has the following to say:

We should be proud of our Aussie bush heritage and as a firefighter, I’m impressed at the way we have dealt with bush fires in the past.

I am also concerned about our massive fuel loads but in terms of detection and suppression, I pose the following question:

With modern technology on hand, why can’t we locate fires earlier and get onto them sooner?

It is a “no brainer” that a fire is best dealt with if we catch it in its early stages. The idea of early detection and early suppression has vastly reduced the frequency and severity of structural fires in Australia but can this principle be applied to the bush?

Fire Lookout trees have been used since the early 1900s and back then, the need for early detection was recognised and taken seriously, as the following article says.

http://volunteerfirefighters.org.au/fire-lookout-trees-early-detection-from-the-early-1900s

The FireWatch Technology is state of the art technology for picking up the start of bush-fires and relaying that information before an escalation of the fire. Please click on the following link, and support the Australian National Early Fire Detection Network. Thank you!

https://stopfiresaustralia.wordpress.com/about/

Aerial Fire fighting, W.A.

Western Australia. Helping to put fires out by Air.  Aerial firefighting is just one part of the bigger picture of responding to bushfires – it supports ground crews and helps carry out the incident controller’s plan for combating the fire.  For more information, please click on the Links below.

http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/newsandmedia/pages/newsarticle.aspx?ItemId=84

http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/aboutus/operationalinformation/helicoptersandaircraft/Pages/helitacs.aspx

https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/Barnett/2015/12/Firefighting-aerial-fleet-arrives.aspx

 

Causes of Bush-fires

A bushfire is a wildfire that burns out of control spreading across vegetated regions of bushland. In order for a bushfire to be catastrophic, the right conditions must be present. Most bushfires happen in times when temperatures are high. In addition, conditions must be dry. Areas with dense undergrowth, as can be found in south-eastern Australia, are the most vulnerable to bushfire. Bushfires often start when dry winds blow inland from central Australia. While the winds bring dry weather, they also provide ventilation for the flames.

Bushfire incidents in Australia can be caused in many different ways. The causes of ignition can be split into two groups, ‘natural’ and ‘human influence’. Lightning strikes are the main way bushfires are started naturally. There are, on average, more bushfires initiated due to lightning strikes than any other individual cause, accounting for approximately 26 percent of all bushfires.

The vast majority of bushfires, however, are generated by the actions or influences of humans. On occasions, a campfire can develop into a bushfire, if the campfire is left unattended or not properly extinguished. Some farmers burn vegetation on their properties to rid the land of crop debris, control weeds and remove rubbish. These fires are referred to as agricultural burns and can lead to bushfires when they are not administered carefully. Agricultural burns are responsible for about 15 percent of all bushfires. Machinery or equipment that generates heat or sparks can potentially act as a catalyst for bushfires. Some machines notorious for triggering bushfires include chainsaws, grinders and slashers. The exhaust from vehicles may also cause fires. Cigarettes which have been discarded irresponsibly have the capacity to ignite bushland, although only seven percent of all fires begin in this manner.

See more at the Link below

http://www.skwirk.com/…/bushfires-and-bushfires-in-australia

PLEASE CAMPAIGN FOR BETTER AWARENESS / EDUCATION OF THE CAUSES OF FIRE

Good information on WA Police action

The information below was available on the W.A. Police’s FB page.

December 10, 2014 ·

This morning Strike Force Vulcan was launched by Detective Senior Sergeant Craig White from the Arson Squad, The Hon Liza Harvey MLA Minister for Police and Assistant Commissioner Brad Stringer from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

Arson Squad detectives are urging residents to be vigilant this bush fire season (1 December to 31 March) and report any suspicious people or vehicles in bushland areas. There is an average of 1,600 bushfire offences across Western Australia each fire season.

Strike Force Vulcan, which was first introduced for the 2010/11 bushfire season, has already been successful in identifying and monitoring arsonists, providing high visibility patrols and a rapid investigative response to deliberately lit fires across the metropolitan area. Covert cameras and surveillance are two tools utilised to assist in catching arsonists.

You will never know if we are watching until it’s too late. If you light a fire in bushland, you risk going to jail for life.

The strategy of Strike Force Vulcan is to investigate arson bushfires in Western Australia through;

– Identifying through intelligence bushfire arson ‘hot-spots’ in the Perth metropolitan area and surrounds;
– Proactively managing Prolific Priority Arson Offenders;
– Using covert and overt surveillance of ‘hotspots’;
– Provide a timely and quality investigation of Bushfire Arson offences;
– Raising public awareness about bushfire arson through media campaigns and engaging members of the public.

This dedicated team, led by senior detectives from the WA Police Arson Squad, work in collaboration with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and the Department Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) to investigate bushfire arson. The investigation team rely on information supplied by members of the public, DFES and DPaW.

Last bushfire season with significant community help, Police were successful in catching and processing 29 people with 33 bushfire arson offences. Most of the offenders were male youths aged between 10 to 17 years of age and police are asking parents to engage with their children to reinforce that fire is extremely dangerous and often cannot be contained or controlled. People can be seriously injured or killed by fire and whole communities burnt to the ground.

Members of the community play a vital part in combating arson by being the eyes and ears for police in their local communities.

If you:
SEE SOMETHING
KNOW SOMETHING
SAY SOMETHING

Every time an arsonist lights a fire they are putting the local community in danger. It doesn’t take much for a small fire to spread and put lives and property at risk. This includes putting the lives of emergency responders in danger, including many career and volunteer firefighters.

Police urge anyone with information to come forward and protect your community from the devastation that deliberately lit bushfires can cause.

Preparing your home and property for the bushfire season is also important. The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has a range of helpful information on their Website (www.dfes.wa.gov.au), including a comprehensive “Prepare. Act. Survive.” guide and a “Homeowner’s Bushfire Survival Manual”.

In a life threatening emergency, including where smoke can be seen in bushland areas, call 000.

– To report suspicious activity call 131 444.

– Anyone with information regarding bushfires and arsonists are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 FREE FREE.

There are significant rewards on offer for information that leads to the identification and conviction of an arsonist.

https://www.facebook.com/WA.Police/posts/907508219282631