Don’t give fire a chance – prepare your home now
Burning embers can travel many kilometres ahead of a fire, so while you may think a bushfire isn’t close to you, embers can still cause spot fires around your property – particularly if you haven’t prepared your home to survive a bushfire.
A well-prepared home can also be easier for you or firefighters to defend and is less likely to put your neighbours’ homes at risk. It will also give you more protection if there is a sudden fire threat and you cannot leave.
Here are some basic tips to prepare your property:
• Clean your gutters of leaves and twigs
• Install metal gutter guards
• Repair damaged or missing tiles on the roof
• Install fine metal mesh screens on windows and doors
• Fit seals around doors and windows to eliminate gaps
• Enclose the areas under the house
• Repair or cover gaps in external walls
• Attach a fire sprinkler system to gutters
• Keep lawns short and gardens well maintained
• Cut back trees and shrubs overhanging buildings
• Clean up fallen leaves, twigs and debris around the property
• Have hoses long enough to reach around your house
• If you have a pool, tank or dam, put a Static Water Supply (SWS) sign on your property entrance, so firefighters know where they can get water
• Check and maintain adequate levels of home and contents insurance. Ensure it is up to date. For more fire-related information please visit the RFS website: www.rfs.nsw.gov.au or call the Bush Fire Information Line – 1800 NSW RFS (1800 679 737)
Galston member profile
Each month this year the Galston Rural Fire Brigade will feature a short interview with one of our members. It is a great way to discover just how diverse your local fire brigade can be.
Member profile: Tomlin Poynton
How long have you been a part of the Galston Rural Fire Brigade?
I joined in January 2013 as a 17-year-old which would make my service four and a half years long, and four years since my first major call at the October Blue Mountains campaign. Since then I have received my Internal Structure Firefighting Qualification, Remote Area Qualification, and Crew Leader Qualification.
What is your role there?
At the brigade, I am one of eight Deputy Captains or crew leaders who help coordinate the efforts of the brigade as part of the executive, as well as commanding crews on fire calls. I will also begin to head up the brigades Juniors program to get some younger people into the RFS.
When you’re not at the brigade, what do you do for a living?
Outside of the Brigade I coordinate a swim school at the Ian Thorpe Aquatic and Leisure Centre in Ultimo fulltime and study part-time online for a bachelor of international relations.
What made you join the RFS?
When I was younger I was interested in joining the Australian Army, and the RFS was an organisation that provided me with the life experience I needed and the team orientated environment that I liked. The RFS also provides a service to people that is extremely important and done voluntarily – it feels like helping out is the right thing to do.
Have you learnt skills in the RFS that you’ve used elsewhere?
The RFS is an emergency service and hence a registered training organisation, meaning any qualifications gained are legitimate. I have used First Aid qualifications for work and in real situations as well. I have also gained excellent management and command experience that can be transferred to the workplace. I even used my skills in navigation on my latest trip to Nepal whilst trekking – as well as my firefighter skills to advise the builders of a local school in Nepal where to put the smoke detectors.
What is a fond memory you have of your time at the brigade?
There is a collection of great memories from the Galston brigade, they are truly my second family and you can’t not have a good time and a laugh when you’re there. However, I would say my proudest moment would be accepting my rank slide from our Captain – officially becoming an officer of the brigade.
What would you say to someone who may be thinking about joining the RFS?
The RFS is a large multifaceted organisation with many different roles – not just firefighting. I truly believe there is a role for anyone that wants to contribute to their community in the RFS. I would say to anyone interested in joining, it’ll be the best decision you will make in a long time. You’ll not only provide a service to the community but you’ll also experience great adventures, amazing people and be able to do things most civilian jobs don’t offer. All whilst receiving a better kind of payment than money. Plus, remember you don’t have to volunteer your entire life – any amount helps!
Brigade Contact Details:
Duty mobile: 0491 119 152 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org