Recently all the volunteer fire brigades in The Hills Shire went through an exercise known as The Readiness Check. One Saturday every year at the start of the fire season, our District Office in Annangrove Road organises an inspection of almost every single piece of equipment that could possibly be used in a bush fire. This involves good will and organisation of military precision from a large number of paid staff and volunteers. Space is limited at District Office so each Brigade has an allotted time for its vehicles to arrive.
Radios, First Aid kits, automatic defibrillators, chain saws and all manner of fire-fighting gear are rigorously scrutinised. Our ability to identify and use key pieces of firefighting equipment is also checked. Our photo shows a Middle Dural firefighter demonstrating use of a ‘Y breaching piece’, or waterdelivery valve that provides water to two separate hose lines, from the back of our Category 1 fire truck.
Our large appliances are fitted with a water spray for covering the whole vehicle when at imminent risk of fire attack. This tanker protection system is activated from inside the cab. Our system is more powerful than most – it sprays a lot of water over a wide area. Quite a few people in range discovered how well our tanker protection works, to the amusement of those dry volunteers in the cab. Our thanks go to all those people who gave up their Saturday to ensure that we as safe and effective as possible on the fire ground.
Over the last few weeks, columns of smoke indicate residents burning piles. Even though it has been raining, you still need a permit because NSW can’t legislate for every individual who thinks it’s OK to burn; and you still need to notify your neighbours and District RFS Office. Volunteers are called out to a great many unauthorised pile burns. We sympathise with you – yes, it may well be safe – but it’s still illegal without a permit. Volunteers’ time is valuable, particularly since many are small business owners and are losing income by attending your illegal pile. Please ring your local captain, if you want to burn. He or she (Middle Dural, Len Best 0408220705, or Ken Middleton 0417203088) can issue you with a permit.