Pindimar-Bundabah review emergency planning after recent major fire

But for the efforts of the Rural Fire Service crews and brigades last week, the only road in and out of North Pindimar was nearly cut off entirely, an eventuality for which locals need to be prepared.

THE STRONG gathering at the Pindimar-Bundabah Community Association Hall on Saturday 16 March testified to the reinvigoration of community efforts to be better prepared for inevitable emergency situations.

Close to 50 residents turned out to start putting up their hands for roles in the ‘Hub Houses’ strategy, which will soon form the bedrock of emergency communications at the local level.

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“We got great information from Steve Carmichael and David Bright in regards to the recent Pindimar fires and the importance of the community calling in fires they spot,” Myall Way Emergency Planning Group leader Joanne Pearce told NOTA.

“We were lucky last week because our comms did not go down, as is often not the case in a bushfire,” Jo emphasised.

“People actually need to be ready to evacuate, have plans in order, and be ready for the reality that you might not get home.

“The single road in and out to North Pindimar was closed, showing we are quite vulnerable, as people will realise we are often not totally sure what is going on… those without internet or mobile may have nothing.”

Pindimar-Bundabah Community Association President (PBCA) Vivien Panhuber said the group would soon be applying for a grant for UHF radios.

“One good suggestion was that those with VHF licences could choose to be identified as a resource if VHF is needed to communicate out,” Vivien said.

The Pindimar-Tea Gardens Rural Fire Service’s (RFS) Acting Community Engagement Officer told NOTA, “Volunteers also put themselves forward to support the active fire fighters, and ways to do this will be explored, along with enticing teenagers into support roles.

“The Pindimar/Tea Gardens RFS Brigade seeks to welcome local youths to the team; they would find much to learn and be proud of in joining the RFS.”

The PBCA will also seek to discuss a cadet program with local high schools, among other avenues.

The Pindimar-Tea Gardens RFS Brigade members discussed the need for a drone with cameras capable of seeing normally as well as detecting infra-red, to quickly locate fire spot-overs in situations like the recent week-long effort, much of which was spent preventing a jump across Warri Street to engulf the only road into North Pindimar.

Drone technology was used to keep an eye on the Hazard Reduction burn at Shearwater on Wednesday 13 March by Fire and Rescue Tea Gardens, however, that technology is, as yet, unavailable to RFS crews.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

Pindimar-Tea Gardens RFS Captain David Bright (far right) was pleased to see so many people showing interest in their own wellbeing at the meeting.

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