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Brigade helps residents on the land
Bushfire and grassfire risk is very real to those in rural Victoria, particularly to those who live and work on the land.
Recently a Bellarine Landcare group of about 25 volunteers met at the Marcus Hill hall in Mannerim to talk farm & rural fire safety.
CFA volunteer (and teacher) Sandra Beckworth from Mannerim Brigade provided an engaging presentation to the group on last year’s Little River grassfires which demonstrated what people could expect with similar types of risks, such as those that exist on the Bellarine Peninsula.
The response from many after seeing footage of the Little River fire behaviour was that they were amazed with the speed of the fire, and had many questioning whether they were capable of defending under those types of circumstances with their existing equipment and current level of preparations. Sandra then proceeded to talk with the group about practical actions landholders and residents can take to prepare for the upcoming Fire Danger Period, and fielded questions on reporting fire hazards on neighbouring properties and maintaining access to rural properties in the event the CFA need to attend a fire.
CFA Group Officer, IMTTP Project Manager and volunteer Alistair Drayton, then spoke to the group about response related activities including the use of machinery on days of fire risk, the importance of carrying a knapsack, haystack fire risks, the use of private appliances and the role of the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer. Attendees were then provided with copies of CFA’s publication, “On the Land”, which provides practical information to landholders on fire & burns management, types of risk, planning and preparation for the season, and the use of machinery and vehicles.
‘CFA were very well received, and the meeting generated many excellent questions from those that attended’, Alistair reported. ‘This was a terrific forum that has now established an incredibly important relationship, and with this communication line being opened it will ensure a more co-operative and co-ordinated approach to both preparation and response, which also helps ensure safety on the fire ground’.
Alistair also noted with interest, the number of folk who were new to living on the land. ‘There were people who had very limited knowledge around fire safety in the context of rural living and farming, which makes the “On the Land” publication all the more valuable. You could see the questions being answered as they read it.’
On the Land is available through your local CFA District Office or you can download a copy (PDF 2000K).