Home' Smart Farmer : November 2015 Contents Smart bushfire safety
Simple steps protect homes, pets
THE upcoming summer is predicted to
be a hot and dry one.
South Australians are being asked
to take simple steps around their homes to
prepare for the bushfire season.
At the launch of Bushfire Action Week
recently, Emergency Services Minister Tony
Piccolo said protecting homes was a shared
“Our Country Fire Service volunteers per-
form an excellent service to the community
but they cannot be at every house, so we need
to do our part, preparing our homes and
ourselves,” he said.
“I encourage everyone to clean up their
properties by mowing lawns and cleaning
their gutters, as well as developing a bushfire
“Many people have thought about a plan,
but when there is a going fire, with smoke and
embers threatening your home, it’s easy to
forget or make mistakes.
“Please take the time to write and practice
your plan so if something does go wrong you
know what to do.
“It’s not that hard to be bushfire-ready –
doing something, rather than nothing, could
be the difference.”
CFS chief officer Greg Nettleton said people
did not realise they might already have the
‘ultimate firefighter’ in their garden shed in the
form of a lawnmower.
“Please do the simple things so when you are
threatened by bushfire you can be confident
you will survive,” he said.
The CFS also teamed up with the RSPCA to
reiterate the importance of including pets in
the bushfire plan.
CFS project officer Oshanna Alexander said
a pet emergency plan would help owners stay
“On days of extreme fire danger or when
a bushfire warning message has been issued,
knowing what you are going to do with your
pets will potentially reduce stress,” she said.
“Without a plan for your pets you can
quickly find yourself in an overwhelming
situation, especially if you are trying to gather
cats, dogs or horses and work out what to do
“A plan for pets may include how you will
transport them, where you will take them and
who will take responsibility.”
RSPCA SA chief executive officer Tim
Vasudeva said acting early and being prepared
could avoid danger, panic and potentially fatal
situations for people and their animals.
“The Sampson Flat bushfires demonstrated
how sudden the need to evacuate can be,” he
“There are three easy steps to your pet
emergency plan: include your pets in your
wider bushfire survival plan, prepare a pet
emergency kit, and practice your plan.”
◗ Take time to practice
◗ Include pets in your plan
◗ Get the lawnmower ready
CFS chief officer (inset) Greg Nettleton says being prepared is key to staying safe this bushfire season.
Danger season: Nine regions in SA
have had their fire danger season brought
forward by up to three weeks. The dates for
2015-16 were announced after a warmer-
than-average spring led to drier fuel loads in
many places. Acting Country Fire Service pre-
paredness operations director Phil McDonough
said the start dates were made in consultation
with local land management agencies and
bushfire management committees. “We
consider factors such as soil dryness index,
fuel curing and climate outlook to determine
when the season will start in each district,”
he said. The start of the fire season will mean
restrictions on the use of fire. “Bushfires
can happen at any time of the year so it’s
important as we head into the fire danger
season everyone is contributing to reducing
the impact of bushfires,” Mr McDonough said.
The fire danger season for Flinders, Lower Eyre
Peninsula, Lower South East, Murraylands,
North East Pastoral, Riverland, Upper South
East, West Coast and Yorke Peninsula began
on November 1. Adelaide Metropolitan,
Kangaroo Island and Mount Lofty Ranges
begin the season on November 17.
• Details: www.cfs.sa.gov.au
Fire appeal: Funds donated to the
Sampson Flat bushfire relief appeal have
all been distributed to those affected by
the January blaze. Communities and Social
Inclusion Minister Zoe Bettison said the state
should be proud of its response, with more
than 3000 donations, totalling $1.92 million,
received from individuals and businesses.
“The response was immediate, as thousands
of South Australians donated money to help
people affected by the bushfires to rebuild
their lives,” she said. State Emergency Relief
Fund Committee chairperson Barry Grear said
the donations and interest accrued had been
shared, including payments to 12 community
groups in the area for projects to help and
support the local community. “Some groups
will purchase equipment like firefighting
trailers or UHF radios to help with emergency
communication,” he said. Those affected by
the bushfire who need information, advice and
support for ongoing recovery and rebuilding
can visit the Recovery Centre.
• Details: Recovery Centre 0477 744 258.
THE bushfire season has arrived and it is
no time for complacency.
It is important to buy the right equip-
ment, so choose a specialist supplier to
A standard garden hose is probably
not going to perform in the heat of a
bushfire. They are known to kink and, in
extreme heat, simply melt.
A fire hose reel of 36 metres or 50m
will resist much higher temperatures and
should come with a brass nozzle with a
variable spray pattern.
Every farm vehicle and goods transport
vehicle needs an extinguisher. This is not
law, just commonsense.
For people investing in expensive trac-
tors, harvesters or sprayers, it is worth
investing in an extinguisher.
Ensure harvesters have a water extin-
guisher and at least a 2.5kg or larger dry
chemical powder extinguisher for engine
Refuelling vehicles or stationary motors
in the field poses huge dangers.
The simple act of spilling fuel onto a hot
exhaust is enough to cause ignition and a
water extinguisher is simply not going to
put out a diesel or petrol fire – farmers
should have a foam extinguisher or a dry
chemical powder one.
Utes and tractors should carry both
types – and as large as possible. To mount
them, try buying a proper vehicle bracket.
A dry chemical powder or foam
extinguisher is also a good idea near farm
workshops or fuel tanks.
A foam extinguisher has a blanketing
and cooling agent which excludes the air
and the chance of reignition.
Dry chemical powder also has the ability
to break the chain reaction of fire and can
smother and cool fires.
At home, everyone should have at least
one fire blanket, preferably 1.8m long to
fully cover a person.
This blanket size can act as a shield
against radiant heat in a wall of fire and
can be handy in the vehicle in case you
become trapped on the road.
A house should also have at least one
water fire extinguisher to combat burning
embers. Should the embers actually start
a small fire inside, you will have the
ability to extinguish them quickly.
For those with the correct fire fighting
equipment, it is important to look after it
and inspect it regularly.
Finally, and most importantly, ensure
the entire family knows how to use this
Quality can make all the difference when fires strike
If you can invest in an expensive on-farm machinery,
it is worth investing in a extinguisher.
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