January 6, 2010 at 2:20 am #251030
Our community has just had a stressful few days and now anger and a bit of shock are setting in as we realise how lucky we are to still be here.
I wrote the story below and have been emailing it to various news organisations hoping to get somepublicity to ensure it doesnt happen again. As usual it does seem like no one is interested 🙁 it does feel like al of us here are second grade citizens ……………..Anne
Ocean Farms – the forgotten community
People living at Ocean Farms rural residential estate are lucky to be alive after State Alert failed to notify them during Monday night when a fire came dangerously close their community and it was feared may over run us.
People living in Lancelin received State Alert notification around Midnight but at Ocean Farms the closest community to the fire, we slept on oblivious to the extreme danger we were in. By the time State Alert finally got around to sending warmings to Ocean Farms residents over 7 hours later the fire had been contained.
On Monday night we checked the FESA site and as the Alert said the fire was 20km away and travelling away from us we went to bed. We believed State Alert would contact us if the situation changed and became potentially life threatening.
Tuesday morning we were alarmed to hear a Fire Watch Alert for us on ABC radio, but stating that the fire was contained. A check of FESA web site revealed that at 2am the situation had been dire with the fire expected to reach us before 7am. We contacted neighbours and enacted our fire plan by securing livestock and starting to wet down.
Smoke was quite thick but by 7.30 was clearing and we began to relax and attend to our normal chores. Around 7.30 the phone rang with a recorded message from State Alert. Phone calls with neighbours revealed that by then we were in no immediate danger and the message should have gone out during the night!!!
As the day went on people who had been out there fighting the fire revealed how they had serious fears that Ocean Farms would be lost. We are very grateful for their efforts but angry and disappointed that we were not warmed by State alert.
This is not the first time our community has been treated like second grade citizens. On Feb 11th 2009 (4 days after Black Saturday) our lives were put on the line when the army refused to cancel live fire training just 5 km away in the Lancelin DTA, on a day that we believe would now be classed as Catastrophic. The temperature locally was expected to be well over 40C and there was a strong wind warning for winds from the NW which would have driven any fire straight to us is minutes. A Vehicle â€A Movement in Paddocks Banâ€ was in place but it seems the army is above the law.
So that is twice now that we have been lucky despite being disregarded or forgotten â€“ we can only hope our luck holds because it seems our community of approx 200 people are â€œa forgotten communityâ€January 6, 2010 at 2:44 am #449586
Far out! That is terrible and terrifying!January 6, 2010 at 8:03 am #449587
seems everyone else who viewed it agreed we are better forgotten :shrug:
and its not that the other people here are Greeny lefty scum like me they are mostly “good” right wing Liberal voters :rol:
AnneJanuary 6, 2010 at 8:32 am #449588
seems everyone else who viewed it agreed we are better forgotten
That’s just not called for Anne!
There are times when people don’t know what to say so they say nothing. This could be one of them.January 6, 2010 at 9:25 am #449589
it could and if so I appologise
but I may also be right and after the last few days you may be able to understand why I and many others here feel no one caresJanuary 6, 2010 at 9:39 am #449590
it does feel like al of us here are second grade citizens .. Anne that isn’t right some in government should stand up and say ‘SORRY’January 6, 2010 at 10:43 am #449591
I like David Holgrem’s approach – have a fireplan that allows for the unexpected. Which really means, you could be on your own long before the help you need arrives.
I like this approach because it puts the power back in your hands to deal with any given situation, without the need for an external party. If they arrive and help – great – if not, you’ve got your own resourcefulness to fall back on.
Personally, I think if our economy starts to get worse, fogotten communities will become the norm. So it’s up to us and our communities, to band together and come up with our own solutions.
I live in a bushfire prone area and there’s more I could be doing to inform myself. I like the approach I’ve read about, where neighbours check on elderly or disabled people when a fire is near – and get them to a selected safe house as a precaution, early on.
These are just ideas I’ve read about and I have a vested interest in learning more. I’m glad the fire was brought under control and no-one was hurt in your area. It’s scary stuff. No-one wants to be take unawares by fire, especially at night.January 6, 2010 at 10:52 am #449592
Sounds like some scary times Anne.
What sort of community do you have out at Ocean Farms, is it a residential estate, or more of an intentional community?January 6, 2010 at 11:04 am #449593
Hi anne I put a message on the shoutbox yesterday concerned for your safety ,glad your ok:hug:January 6, 2010 at 9:15 pm #449594
Metu, that sounds good. We have joined our local CFU (Community Fire Unit) as though we are suburban, we are on the urban edge. They provide training, a trailer unit with hoses (to attach to inground hydrants) and other gear, as well PPE for each member. Our unit is just starting up, and my husband will volunteer to be Team Leader. It is not about fighting fires, but being prepared, encouraging the neighbours to prepare their places, communicating during any fire times, and having things ready for when the fire brigade gets there, maybe putting out spot fires in the mean time. But like you say, can’t rely that the fire brigade is coming… any serious (catastrophic warning) fires and we will not be hanging around. It must be awful though, to have constant fire threats and serious weather, because every day, you’d be thinking, should we leave our homes again today?
Good luck to all facing fire threats, I will be thinking of you….January 6, 2010 at 10:21 pm #449595
Metu we are very well prepared and exactly as you say we intend to stand alone – we would not have left.
The problem is we were told before going to bed that the fire was 40km away and moving AWAY from us – even so we did get up at midnight and check but as it was over a hill we couldnt see the glow – the smell of smoke had been there since Monday lunch time.
We also do exactly as you say with our elderly neighbours :tup: None of them could see the fire either ( even those on the hill that we always call the “fire watch tower” 😆 ) and part of our anger is that normally somone out at the fire would have warned us except that they all thought State Alert would warn us :@
to give you some idea of how we do stand alone – we have 2 impact sprinklers each on the house, the goat shed and the dairy. They are run from a 100,000 litre liner pond put in as fire fighting water. We have just purchased a deisel pump with a 20 litre fuel tank so we calculate we can pump for 10 hours. ( in case of forced evacuation ) The spinkler system is also connected to an electric pump for backup and we have 2 generators ( 1 original petrol plus a listeroid still being installed. )
we also have a 40,000 litre liner pond which was our first effort as fire fighting water. We decided it wasnt big enough so installed the bigger one next to it last year. This pond has a petrol fire fighter on it with 100 m of fire proof hose layed out in strategic places for hubby to use to put out spot fires.( this pond also doubles as a duck pond 😀 )
all arround our house and sheds is cleared of course – we have safe areas for all the goats including places to tie some up inside the Fly wired back verandah ( fire rated fly wire of course )
BUT because of FESAs stuff up we were fast asleep when things looked desperate when we could have been wetting down since midnight if notified like Lancelin was 😡
Lancelin is 6 km away on the coast – to get to them the fire had to over run us – then cross the new highway – then 4 km of bush but then it would come up against the Lancelin Sand dunes and had little chance of getting into town – yet they were warned :shrug: maybe the FESA idiots mixed up Lancelin and Ocean Farms
BTW It seems the fire is now out and we can relax a bit . I do appologise for being so hostile and angry but we have so much stress here with fires in summer – usually from the opposite direction and started by the military ……… as my neighbour said ” we just dont need this” She is thinking of selling up she is so upset 🙁
Swaggie it is just a usual type rural residentail community and unfortunately not even particularly “green” in fact we considered are the local loony greenies 😆
Jeanie thanks for your concern :hug:
AnneJanuary 6, 2010 at 11:32 pm #449596
stay safe Anne :hug:January 7, 2010 at 12:40 am #449597
It’s a disgrace, Anne, but I’m glad you’re all (your goats included) okay!January 7, 2010 at 5:39 am #449598
Glad that you’re OK Anne :hug:
No one should have to feel unsafe like that, and you have every right to be questioning the State government procedures and protocols etc.
Here’s to a safe summer ahead. xJanuary 7, 2010 at 6:27 am #449599
Ggang glad that you are all safe.
I have seen several comments around relating to the recent fires in WA that there are obviously flaws in the system. Many people out in Toodyay commented that messages sent to their mobiles came too late and many people have said how slow the Fesa website alerts are to be updated. So I would view it not so much that your community is being singled out and ignored but that the system in place has failed and the flaws need to be addressed.
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