Things We Learned About Our Fire Plan Yesterday

http://osom.cfa.vic.gov.au/public/osom/websites_detail_mobile_831803082.html

Given this was heading pretty much straight for us at one point yesterday, it has to be a lucky thing that we got a chance to practice the fireplan with a heightened sense of urgency.

Things that Worked Well:

We heard about the fire quickly (heard the Siren / checked the CFA situation on the mobile - knew we had something too close for comfort very quickly).

The equipment (Tractor with water tanker from next door), fire pump on the dam, spray unit on the Quad bike from next door, back pack spray unit, clothes, face masks, etc all deployed quickly (under 10 mins).

House shut down and dogs / one cat secured in the same time.

Fire activity monitored visually from the top of the ridge here and next door, and wind direction / possible impact zones identified very quickly (hence deployment of the equipment where we did).

Alpacas into the paddock behind the house directly opposite possible fire direction - with options for bringing them into a more secure area where we could stand and defend them and the rest of the livestock if necessary.

Realised that the pigs have created quite a fire barrier at the front more by accident than design.

Communications equipment between us worked really well and over a very good distance.

Strategy for impact worked out and jobs assigned between us.

Ready to go / into watch and act mode in < 15 minutes.

Things that We Need to Think About:

Couldn't find one of the cats.  Need to consider how we go about including her in the lockdown in the future.

Need to do the boundary patrols regardless of whether it's a total fire ban day or not.  Any heightened wind = trouble when it's this desperately dry.

The tanker / bike were only here are as a result of next door neighbour being away - need to get our water tank onto a moveable source.

Will need to further consider our options in terms of a quad bike.  This made the run up and down the hill to monitor much quicker - and with the spray unit attached / full of water gave us a mobile spot fire unit (allowing for not being useable in the event of large breakouts / big spotting attacks).  As a quick attack vehicle it had potential - have added this to the general pros and cons discussion about buying our own unit.

Need to rethink the respirator options we have.

Fire fighting clothing needs to be more readily accessible at the back of the house.

Need to have the portable scanner back and operational as we don't want to have to keep returning to the house to monitor fireground updates.

Observations in General:

Local CFA brigades were brilliant.

Local knowledge is unbeatable.

Assess the risk and impacts quickly but carefully

DON'T PANIC

Watch - get outside and really bloody look.

You'd be utterly and completely barking bloody mad to rely on websites or updates or anything from any central source.  Fireground updates on the scanner were SO far ahead of the central comms.

Keep in touch with each other and know what each other is doing / where everybody is.

Debrief / adjust the plan.  Tweak / rework it frequently.

Don't think you've got it 100% right.  Always room to improve.

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