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
Summer Fire Season
At the beginning of the 2013/14 and 2014/15 fire seasons
we said they had all the hallmarks of being challenging times for brigades,
thankfully we were spared that challenge locally. Little did we know
the extent of the impact that bush fires would have across the state and that
the year 2013/14 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 had many fires blazing and
past experience showed 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
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. During the season we had regular and consistent rains that ensure low risk factors.
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
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
the fire danger rating, the more dangerous conditions.
threaten without warning so you need to know what you will do to survive.
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
2. Understanding your level of risk
3. Preparing your plan, yourself and your property
4. Knowing the danger ratings
5. Keeping yourself informed
6. Neighbourhood Safer Places
7. Emergency Survival Kits
8. Protective clothing
9. Myth Busters (Commonly misunderstood beliefs); and finally
10. A section to assist in getting the kids to understand the
dangers and issues.
At the beginning of each fire season a "Fire Danger Period" is declared, usually 1st October to 31st March. During this period
you are required to have a "Fire Permit" to do any burning off at all -
even a small pile of material. While that declaration was made early for 2014 the Fire Danger Period has been revoked as of 6th March to 31st March 2015 due to the diminished fire risk. The usual permit requirements are now in place.
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
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
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
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
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.
Hydrants are Important
In October 2013 brigade members started a review of the readiness of all fire
hydrants in the Malua Bay Brigade area to ensure that should there be a
fire threat in your immediate area that we know not only where the hydrants are but
also whether they are working properly. A year later we concluded those inspections and are now revisiting those hydrants that had issues. As we went we found some buried under landscaping or
covered by shrubs and several buried under driveways. 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.
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. When we arrive at a fire and start attacking the fire we have at best 5 minutes of water under full discharge from the truck. Connecting to the hydrants quickly are critical and your knowledge of where hydrants are can help us at those times.
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
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 (email@example.com) 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!