What’s your fire plan?

V twin venom 10 February 2009 32

What would you do?

In light if the horrific Victorian fires and the still fresh (6 years) memories of the 2003 Canberra fires, what is your fire plan? We stood and fought the Canberra  firestorm and thankfully had a reasonable outcome. 

I live in the north western part of Kambah  and was able to plan, prepare, fight and panic as the firestorm storm ripped over the hill and  ravaged my neighbourhood…… I still don’t have a back door neighbor.

In Victoria, our countrymen and women seem to have had plans in place to counter/deal with/fight, such events yet the toll is gut wrenching.  They were brave and they fought hard (My heart is with you all).

Have we in the ACT learned anything here! Are any of you ready? Do you have a plan?

If you have a basic plan, share it.

Briefly describe your location and how you plan to survive a beast of this proportion.


What's Your Opinion?


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32 Responses to What’s your fire plan?
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peterh peterh 11:55 am 16 Feb 09

I would do the same as i did when the fires came through our area….
1. block drainpipes with cloth, fill gutters with water.
2. set soaker hose on ridgeline of roof, spraying either side of roof.
3. put box of photos and important documents into boot.
4. cage cats and load into front of car.
5. get kids into car, with their overnight bags, toys and teddies.
6. drive away, not looking back.

Things I won’t do:
1. try and stop spot fires in thongs, jeans and a singlet.
2. leave my clothes in a bag on the bed.
3. listen to any of the commercial FM radio stations
4. continually phone my father to see if he is alive or not.
5. stand out the front with the neighbors, watching a massive wall of fire heading for us.

s-s-a s-s-a 10:29 pm 14 Feb 09

We are looking at installing security screens, but I am very conscious of that issue. I have seen some that have an internal mechanism that spring open and out when you press down on the inside of the frame

I once asked someone at a shopping centre display about escapeability of the roller shutters. They said it was possible to push them out from the inside – when I asked if a 3-5yo child could do this they said no.

I actually WANT to be able to get into my child’s room from outside the house if necessary in an emergency, or for a firey to be able to do the same. She has been told that if she can’t get out of her room in a fire to stand between the curtain and the window and yell for help from a grown-up. Can’t do that with roller shutters!

Our fire plan (Weston Ck within 100m of several post-bushfire houses) = remove vulnerable household members well in advance (eg if they forecast awful fire conditions similar to 2003) then return with additional people to defend the house (again).

Ruby Wednesday Ruby Wednesday 9:33 pm 11 Feb 09

Gungahlin Al said :

Off topic a bit, one thing that I find quite shocking is the number of houses that still have iron bars on the windows to keep burglars out, including some quite new ones. If your house catches fire you can be completely trapped with no way of escaping out the window.

This I don’t get – the other side is glass. I’ve found chairs and glass don’t go too well together.

Many glass windows are surprisingly strong in the middle. Depending on what type of glass was used, I am reliably informed that you can toss a brick at it or whack it with a chair and it will not break. The real vulnerability is at the very edge, which is why lots of forced entries to homes involve people using a screwdriver as a lever at the edge of the glass, causing it to shatter, and then as it is safety glass they just push out the relevant part.

GB GB 1:08 pm 11 Feb 09

Ainslie, one street from the bush.

FIRE PLAN:

1) Check elderly neighbours, then leave, early

unless its a small fire, in conditions of low fire danger, low heat, minimal wind, from one direction, with no other warnings current.

smilesr smilesr 12:29 pm 11 Feb 09

Build myself a concrete bunker in preparation!

Actually that’s what I heard last night as an option in a review of the strategies for fire-prone areas (like in tornado-prone areas of USA) instead of the stay and defend your homes advice. Makes sense with the speed these recent fires have come through.

sepi sepi 11:41 am 11 Feb 09

I lived in Victoria after Ash Wednesday, and for ages after that there were ads on telly showing what to do in case of approaching fire, and how to best shelter in your house or your car.

I was surprised there was nothing like that here after the 2003 fires. Perhaps there should be a national ad campaign to tell people the basics.

sepi sepi 11:28 am 11 Feb 09

YEah – I think lighting break fires around you is a bit ambitious – if you have time to do that, you have time to just leave instead.

The fires here burnt some houses flat in minutes, and left the one next door, so you don’t know exactly where it is going anyway.

Another thing to think about early is to find all your full cotton and wool long clothes and get them out ready in case you need them. It was amazing in 03 how little 100% wool or cotton we had in the house – blankets too.

NoAddedMSG NoAddedMSG 11:01 am 11 Feb 09

p1 said :

Outside an urban area, in a last ditch situation, if there wasn’t an already burnt area nearby, then I’d probably burn one myself and park the car in the middle of it…

In this situation this is exactly what I would do. Especially in a grassland area. Of course the reality of an overrun situation with a running grass fire might be that you have no time to think, let alone take action.

So, in order to save yourself you would consider taking an action which could end up robbing the people further along the fire path of the extra time they need to escape?

jakez jakez 10:55 am 11 Feb 09

Well I plan on joining the volunteers this year so I guess when the next bushfire comes to Canberra I’ll have to go and fight it.

My hope is simply that I don’t lose my family while doing it, like the poor volunteer in Vic that I saw on the news.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 10:29 am 11 Feb 09

If it looked like we were going to have a problem, I’d grab the family, pets and whatever documents and pics I could and leave. Everything else is insured and replaceable.

p1 p1 10:18 am 11 Feb 09

Outside an urban area, in a last ditch situation, if there wasn’t an already burnt area nearby, then I’d probably burn one myself and park the car in the middle of it…

In this situation this is exactly what I would do. Especially in a grassland area. Of course the reality of an overrun situation with a running grass fire might be that you have no time to think, let alone take action.

tom-tom tom-tom 9:59 am 11 Feb 09

digga; yeah. the original proposal did allow for power to be fed into the main grid at peak times and emergencies. Until some nimby’s went and got it canned. I know giving out false and misleading information is the m.o. of CPR but please don’t insult my intelligence by trying it on me.

In case you missed my point before it is hypocritical of you to talk about the need for a secondary power source while engaging in a campaign to block a proposal which would have provided that capability.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 9:53 am 11 Feb 09

Off topic a bit, one thing that I find quite shocking is the number of houses that still have iron bars on the windows to keep burglars out, including some quite new ones. If your house catches fire you can be completely trapped with no way of escaping out the window.

This I don’t get – the other side is glass. I’ve found chairs and glass don’t go too well together.

Sepi: I said cars ready, not running. Said keys in them, because of all the people trying to run but unable to find their keys in the smoke.

As for taking off in a car, clearly this led to a lot of deaths. Except where people used them only to get through the fire to already burnt areas then stayed in their cars. I feel running away from a fire that’s about to hit is a bit like trying to swim against a rip. Outside an urban area, in a last ditch situation, if there wasn’t an already burnt area nearby, then I’d probably burn one myself and park the car in the middle of it…

As I said earlier, my plan would be to defend my home, and bailing would only be if the house was clearly indefensible. But these are the plans in my head only, and I’m not promoting it to anyone else. To stay or go is a personal thing, and would depend a lot on what experience one has in the face of fires. Like many I guess, I’ve spent a lot of time listening to interviews of people who escaped whether by accident or design, and trying to learn from that, then assimilating it all into plans and contingencies. Hope I never need to test it.

Digga Digga 9:46 am 11 Feb 09

tom-tom: Nope. Gas-Fired Power Station is for data centre power only. No power for you as citizen to get your emergency broadcasts.

The cat did it The cat did it 9:21 am 11 Feb 09

Have a look at the ESA Home Emergency Plan checklist- it seems to cover all the important stuff, but it’s a clumsily laid out Word document. Very amateurish, and not the kind of thing that would give me much confidence in the organisation that produced it. Haven’t they heard of PDFs yet?

Holierthanthou Holierthanthou 11:12 pm 10 Feb 09

scream and run in circles

Ruby Wednesday Ruby Wednesday 10:52 pm 10 Feb 09

2604 said :

Ruby Wednesday said :

Belconnen. Leave early. Things can be replaced; that’s what insurance is for.

This is my attitude too.

Off topic a bit, one thing that I find quite shocking is the number of houses that still have iron bars on the windows to keep burglars out, including some quite new ones. If your house catches fire you can be completely trapped with no way of escaping out the window. Seems like a big price to pay for protecting possessions that you can always buy more of.

We are looking at installing security screens, but I am very conscious of that issue. I have seen some that have an internal mechanism that spring open and out when you press down on the inside of the frame (Crimsafe ones), which are my preference regardless of cost. My father’s childhood home burned down a few years after his mother sold it. Everyone inside died because there were bars on the window.

bd84 bd84 10:42 pm 10 Feb 09

Thumper said :

My plan is to run away as if I’m being chased by a thousand screaming banshees…

Hey that’s my plan too! lol

2604 2604 10:29 pm 10 Feb 09

Ruby Wednesday said :

Belconnen. Leave early. Things can be replaced; that’s what insurance is for.

This is my attitude too.

Off topic a bit, one thing that I find quite shocking is the number of houses that still have iron bars on the windows to keep burglars out, including some quite new ones. If your house catches fire you can be completely trapped with no way of escaping out the window. Seems like a big price to pay for protecting possessions that you can always buy more of.

sepi sepi 9:09 pm 10 Feb 09

I would leave at the first sign of any trouble. I’m just not sure if it is better to all go in one car, or take two.

– Al – the local school may not be far enough to go. In 2003 people were first evacuated to Erindale College, and then that whole evacuation centre was evacuated to Phillip College.

Also – the pessimist in me would not leave the cars running with keys in, in case someone else was desperate to get away and drove off in them. I wouldn’t want to be leaving it so late that the minute to turn on the engine would matter anyway.

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