The Malua Bay Rural Fire Brigade is an “urban interface” brigade made up of committed volunteers who respond to house fires, bush fires and motor vehicle accidents particularly in the suburban areas of Lilli Pilli, Malua Bay, Rosedale, Guerilla Bay and surrounds. We also regularly conduct Hazard Reduction Burns to protect the community from fire and to reduce the impact of future bush fire threats.
The description of the brigade as an "urban interface" brigade means that there are significant mixing of bush land and dwellings in an urban like environment. We also have portions of the brigade area that are larger holdings either rural or semi rural. So we locally have the whole array of response challenges for a rural brigade.
The brigade has nearly 3,000 rate assessments in its area - that is potential land owners. We believe that nearly 60% of these could be absentee landowners (either having infrequently visited holiday homes or are rental properties). Also, generally all the land in our area has been classified as "fire prone land" by the Council. We are trying to give our land owners a sense of who we are, what we do, the structure of the RFS, how decisions are made and where they can get information from. Through this we hope to raise awareness and give owners and occupiers an understanding of contemporary knowledge about getting ready for the fire season as well as general safety issues should a fire eventuate.
Developing a communications platform is an ongoing priority for us and in addition to the web page we put out an annual newsletter, make community presentations when asked and hold an open day each year at the end of September.
The web page continues to be developed and we would really like your comments on whether there are things that could be added to make it more relevant to your needs, areas that could be expanded or simply to tell us we have hit the mark with what is on there. Our e-mail address is email@example.com.
Summer Fire Season
At the beginning of the 2013/14 fire season we said it had all the hallmarks of being a challenging time for brigades, thankfully we were spared that challenge locally. However little did we know the extent of the impact that bush fires would have across the state and that the year would turn out to be the worst on record. We generally look north to get a feel for what the potential future levels of fire dangers are likely to be. At the end of October 2014 Southern Queensland has many fires blazing and our experience shows that the north coast of NSW is about six weeks ahead of us while the Sydney area is three to four weeks ahead in exhibited potential risk conditions. The El Nino effect while neutral in October 2014 is predicted to worsen as summer progresses so we all need to be ready for a very high risk season ahead.
Local conditions can vary depending on past local rainfall, prevailing climate conditions and the general vegetation build up in the bush land in the immediate area.
If a fire happens near you do you have a plan?
Bush fires are a natural part of the Australian environment and occur regularly, but many people fail to prepare for them. When threatened by bush fires, people will often leave it too late to
make critical decisions and often have few safe options left.
The Rural Fire Service's web page has excellent information on things you should consider, things you should do to prepare and also how to respond to a fire situation. You can access this information through this (Link). to their site. Watch the short video it is really useful information.
In this link it is suggested that there are three stages in being fire ready and briefly they are:
You must make important decisions before the fire season starts.
The higher the fire danger rating, the more dangerous conditions.
Fires may threaten without warning so you need to know what you will do to survive.
Bush Fire Survival Plan
You can access and download a copy of the bush fire survival plan from the above link, this document covers in detail the things you should think about in being ready. Pages 16 and 17 are particularly helpful as they allow you to put your own information in for the situations of "Our Leave Early Plan" and "Our Stay and Defend Plan". This is a must read document to help you be fully prepared.
It also gives you very valuable information on things like:
- Protect your family, protect your life
- Understanding your level of risk
- Preparing your plan, yourself and your property
- Knowing the danger ratings
- Keeping yourself informed
- Neighbourhood Safer Places
- Emergency Survival Kits
- Protective clothing
- Myth Busters (Commonly misunderstood beliefs); and finally
- A section to assist in getting the kids to understand the dangers and issues.
Bush Fire Permits
At the beginning of each fire season (between 1st October and 31st March the following year) a "Fire Danger Period" is declared. HOWEVER due to the increased fire risk this year that period has been brought forward and is currently 1st September 2014 to 31st March 2015. During this period you are required to have a "Fire Permit" to do any burning off - even a small pile of material.
The aim of the Fire Permit is to ensure fire will be used safely. A permit imposes conditions on the way a fire is lit and maintained, and can only be issued by authorised Permit Issuing Officers. The permit system informs the authorities exactly when and where landowners intend to burn, to ensure adequate and appropriate measures are in place, so that fires remain under control. You can find more information on the RFS Web Page at the following (Link).
A Total Fire Ban declaration will override any permits issued and the rules around a total fire ban and its operation can be found through this (Link). You should note the new penalties for failing to comply with these rules.
For information for the Malua Bay Brigade area on when you can burn off and Fire Permits please contact the Brigade Captain Martin Green on 4471 6933.
Fire Danger Ratings
The Fire Danger Rating (FDR) gives you an indication of the consequences of a fire, if a fire was to start. The rating is based on predicted conditions such as the temperature,
humidity, wind and dryness of the landscape. It tells you
how a bush fire may act, what impacts there might be on
the community if a bush fire were to start and when to
implement your Bush Fire Survival Plan.
Click on the picture for today's
fire rating in your area.
|The Fire Danger Rating (FDR) is an assessment of the potential fire behaviour, the difficulty of suppressing a fire, and the potential impact on the community should a bush fire occur on a given day. The FDR is determined by the Fire Danger Index (FDI). The FDI is a
combination of air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and drought.
An FDI of 1 (Low-Moderate) means that fire will not burn, or will burn so slowly that it will be easily controlled, whereas an FDI in excess of 100 (Catastrophic) means that fire will burn so fast and so hot that it is uncontrollable.
A good explanation of the FDR, what each means, what the potential fire behavior could be, what the impact potential and what your actions need to be are given in an RFS 2009 publication called "Fire Rating Index" and can be accessed by clicking on the following link Fire Danger Index
Interested in Joining Our Brigade
Anyone interested in joining is welcome
to drop into the shed on either the 1st, 2nd or 4th Tuesday of the Month at 6pm. Also see our "Brigade Members" section and our "Join Us" section by clicking on the navigation bar on the top left hand side of this page for more details.
Fire Hydrants are Important
The brigade is starting a review of all fire hydrants in the Malua Bay Brigade area to ensure that should there be a fire threat in your area that we know not only where the hydrants are but also whether they are working properly. It is important to understand that fire hydrants are the brigades main source of water in the immediate vicinity of your property and knowing where they are can mean the difference between saving a property or struggling.
We have inspected about 50 in the first three weeks but have already found one buried under landscaping, one covered by a shrub and some partly buried. As fire hydrants are important to protect houses and property it would be really helpful if owners could know where the nearest hydrant is to them and that it is properly marked.
A fire hydrant is identified by a blue cats eye marker on the road, along with a yellow arrow on the road pointing to the hydrant which is usually below ground under a yellow coloured cover. The fire hydrant is a direct fire fighting access to the Council reticulated water supply so they are only available in built up areas.
If you could look around your area and see where the hydrant is and if you have doubts about whether it is working send us an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) indicating where it is, what the street address is and what your concern is - we will then include that hydrant in our inspection regime.
Maybe you could adopt a hydrant and tell us where it is and keep an eye on it for us.
The brigade would like to acknowledge the great response we have received from the Eurobodalla Shire Works Staff in responding to repairs as we advise them of concerns. Great job guys, we could not ask for more!