Bushfire simulation event held at South Arm

Locals watch fires unfold in a bushfire simulation event at South Arm Hall.

AROUND 30 community members gathered at the South Arm Hall last Wednesday evening to participate in an evening hosted by rural firefighters and other organisers to discuss preparedness for bushfires in the region.

The Mid North Coast Joint Organisation donated the use of a sand table and a bushfire/flood simulation program which was demonstrated in the darkened hall.

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Watching the fire spread across familiar hills and valleys brought back dormant emotions for many who had lived through the 2019 bushfires.

The 2019 fire season encompassed more than a month and eventually resulted in a fire that killed one South Arm resident, destroyed several homes, killed stock and engulfed the farmlands of many participants in the evening.

“I had four hours sleep for three weeks straight before they took me to hospital with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder),” Graeme Adair, Group Captain with the Rural Fire Service (RFS), told News Of The Area.

“But we saved Taylors Arm.”

Mr Adair was quick to point out that many things have changed since then, including improvements to communications within the fire services and also to the public.

After the simulation table demonstration, various speakers from the RFS and NSW Reconstruction Authority discussed preparedness plans with the audience while hard-working volunteers from the South Arm Hall Committee served tea, coffee and light refreshments.

“Your fire-plan is a living document,” Cherylee from the RFS told the group.

“Every day of our lives, something happens to change it,” she said, encouraging the audience to consider their flexibility and resilience to the inevitability of bushfires.

“We have put in sprinklers and a new fire-pump,” said one local.

From the discussions being held it was clear that this group has made many changes to their homes and lives over the past four and a half years.

“This kind of an evening can bring up emotions, but it needs to be done in the community,” Mr Adair told NOTA.


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