South Coogee Bush Fire Brigade have been involved involved extensively with the massive fires that impacted the south-west in the past few weeks. These have have taken a heavy toll on many communities, and still remain an unresolved threat in many spots throughout the 72,000+ hectares that were burnt.
South Coogee Light Tanker in Waroona. Photo courtesy A.Bell
For those in the City of Cockburn it can be easy to think of bushfires as taking place in the country or Perth hills. However, there remains plenty of natural park-lands and bush-blocks within our great City, and these do have the potential to lead to intense bush fire activity. We have some great Volunteer and Career Fire Fighters who can respond to such events, but with limited resources and often multiple properties at risk you have a responsibility to yourself to ensure you have minimised the potential impact.
Last year as I watched a fire burn close to my property in Hammond Park I found myself busy with providing advice to my neighbours as to how they could do basic things to ensure that they wouldn’t be impacted by embers or smoke should the fire reach us (fortunately it didn’t). I was happy to help, and now the corner I live on is just a bit more prepared for the next fire should it take place.
However, you don’t have to live next to a Volunteer Bush Fire Fighter to find out preparedness; there are plenty of resources available online for you. The City of Cockburn has a great phone app ‘Disaster Aware’, which you can find for both Android and Apple OS. Information about this App and other resources available to Cockburn residents can be found at: http://cockburn.wa.gov.au/Council_Services/Emergency_Management/
The ABC also has a handy resource, which is definitely worth a read: http://www.abc.net.au/news/emergency/plan-for-an-emergency/bushfire/
The Volunteers at South Coogee Bush Fire Brigade remain committed to responding to emergencies throughout the State, and will likely be out many more times before the seasons change. The insight provided in the above-referenced sites will help to inform you about the measures you can take to decrease the risk of impact by fire, as well as guidance on what to do should you be faced with such a scenario.
Enjoy your summer, and don’t forget to wave hi next time you see us drive by!
South Coogee Captain.
Youtube link here!
Early days, but we will add more as we go. Thanks for supporting South Coogee!
Photography by Andrew Bell
The Brigade Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on Wednesday 22nd April 2015. We are pleased to present the 2015/16 office holders, and offer a hearty ‘thank you’ to all of the outgoing leadership team members.
||Chris De Boer
|Community Engagment Officer:
|Assistant Training Officer:
|Assistant Equipment Officer:
Please keep Saturday 20th September free to come along and support your local volunteer bush fire brigade! We will be hosting a fabulous night of entertainment for our first annual fundraiser. Please contact Fundraising@SouthCoogeeBFB.org.au to reserve your tickets. More information will be posted next week. We hope to see you there!
Over the summer the brigade was visited by a Volunteer Fire Fighter from Germany. Katrin was shown how bush fire fighting is undertaken, learning about the methodology and the equipment used in Australia. Prior to her return to Germany Katrin was the surprised recipient of an award and medal for her work during the Elbe River floods in June 2013. Katrin worked for 12 days to ensure levees were strengthened, embankments shored up as well as the thousands of evacuations. In a fitting touch the District Chief from the region that Katrin is a volunteer in sent her award to Australia so she could receive it before her return.
Well done Katrin and thanks for spending your summer in Australia with us!
South Coogee has worked with other volunteer and career fire fighters in battling the Banjup/Forrestdale fire, which began on Sunday night (2nd Feb) and rapidly escalated into an emergency that threatened the lives and properties of Cockburn residents. Our fellow City of Cockburn brigade, Jandakot, faced the real threat of losing their station to the flames. In what has been a great example of interoperability all units and stations worked together to reduce the impact of the fire; with half a dozen homes damaged, but none lost. Both Cockburn brigades, with assistance from other volunteer stations, will spend at least the next four days patrolling and mopping up before the all-clear can be considered.
The hard work of South Coogee and Jandakot BFB at the Parkerville and Jolimont fires was well described in the Cockburn Gazette from the 21st January 2014.
The weekend 11 – 12 January has seen additional appliances meet at the South Coogee Bush Fire Station in anticipation of deployment. In this Task Force the brigade was sent to the Shenton Park fire on Saturday, performing in challenging and taxing conditions.
The City of Cockburn Chief Bush Fire Control Officer has directed the following:
“On the basis that seasonal conditions have deteriorated from being ideal for safe burning off and that some erratic bushfire activity is now evident, it is appropriate to from this point on, suspend all further issuing of permits to burn within the City of Cockburn until the next restricted burning period April 2014. Any residents who currently have a valid permit to burn are to be advised that their permit is now cancelled.
Although the City is still considered to be in the restricted burning period up to and including 30 November, given that valid permits are not being issued any fires lit within the City are likely to be unlawful”
To understand Fire Danger Ratings, and how they are assessed, the Department of Fire & Emergency Services has a comprehensive web page available. Click on the Fire Danger Ratings page through this link here to find out more.
As we look across the country to NSW we can see the devastating impact of bushfires on the community. It wasn’t too long ago that Victoria was ravaged during the Black Saturday fires, and further back (2003) to the Canberra fires. Locally, the Roleystone and Margaret River fires serve as a reminder as to the destruction these disasters can cause. The Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre’s outlook for the 2013-2014 season is above normal fire potential for the south west WA and all along the west coast.
A key factor in surviving a bushfire is preparation and the Dept of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has numerous resources to help you prepare for this season (use the links in the image below). Even if you live in the suburbs your home may still be vulnerable to bushfire attack as winds can carry hot embers long distances and they can land in air conditioners, leaf litter in gutters, and other combustible material. Don’t forget your holiday home if you have one – there is also information for secondary property owners.
Further information is available at http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/fire/bushfire/Pages/default.aspx, and if you would like to become a volunteer in any of the DFES divisions go to http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/volunteers/Pages/default.aspx or contact us through this website.