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2015-16 Fire Season

Last week’s rain slowed the early start to the fire season in south eastern Australia, but only for a short period. The Bureau of Meteorology’s prediction for the next three months shows a low chance of exceeding medial rainfall in the south east and a high chance in the south west of Australia. It looks like it could be a busy fire season in the south east.

Saftey Matters December Fire Season 2015-16

With the forecast season in mind, it is a good time to remember to keep safe when attending fires.
 
Hazardous trees
  • Falling trees or branches are a significant cause of Australian firefighter fatalities.
  • During fire response activities, avoid hazards (marking potentially hazardous trees and specifying an exclusion zone) and allow them to fall naturally.
  • When selecting control points and park-up areas on the fire line, inspect trees with drop zones that extend to the selected parking location.
  • Identify tree hazards that can and should be removed, principally by pushing trees over with earthmoving machinery is preferred over falling with chainsaws.
Fatigue
  • If what you are doing is an active task, take regular rest breaks, drink water, cool down and return to duties when feeling refreshed.
  • If you are driving or operating a machine, stop get out and have a walk around, get the body moving again and return to driving or operating when feeling refreshed.
  • Once you have had a break to relieve the effects of fatigue, ensure that you continue to take regular breaks. The frequency of breaks may need to be increased as you work through your shift.
  • Do not be ashamed to admit that you are feeling fatigued and do something about it, the consequences of failing to do something about fatigue can be disastrous.
Communication
  • Ensure you always have radio comms on the fireground and a hand held radio when away from the vehicle.
  • Ensure you receive a thorough briefing from the Fire Boss when you arrive at the fire ground.