As residents of Merricks Beach, we all enjoy the beauty of the beaches and its foreshore. We enjoy the views over farmland and watching our own gardens thrive. But when a hot day strikes with a strong northerly, it is only natural to wonder how safe we are in this natural environment. Thankfully, there are people around us who have thought about this and one in particular, has decided to make a plan to survive if the worst came to the worst. The following has been prepared by Merricks Beach regular, Ken Rowe and has been reviewed by Damien Taylor, the CFA fire-fighter who is leading our Fireguard meetings (currently postponed).
You can also have a look at the CFA website for more information: https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/your-bushfire-plan
- Use the VicEmergency App on your phone, or phone the hotline on 1800 226 226
- Tune to ABC 774 (Portable radio in fire box)
There are 3 levels of warning:
- An incident is occurring or has occurred in the area
- Access information and monitor conditions.
- WATCH AND ACT
- An emergency is developing nearby.
- You need to take action now to protect yourself and others.
- EMERGENCY WARNING
- You are in imminent danger and need to take action now.
- You will be impacted
NOTE: The house and contents are well insured.
Never risk your life to save the house.
Consider your safety first.
- Leave early – down Merricks Beach Road (bitumen), to Hastings/Flinders Road, and east to Balnarring or west to Flinders.
- Merricks Beach Road to the Beach.
- Spray Street, left into Bayview Road to Balnarring Beach.
- Remain at the house.
NATURE OF THREAT:
- Severe fire from north, possibly down Merricks Beach Road and Hanns Reserve into the roadside pine trees. Ember attack from trees.
- Severe fire at Merricks North, followed by a westerly wind change, bringing fire across the paddocks to Merricks.
- Ignition of litter under trees, around deck and under house.
- Ignition in roof cavity from embers caught in spout.
- Remove fine litter from under trees. Clean roof/spouts.
- Check fire extinguishers, hose fittings and access. Check batteries for radio and torches.
FIRE FIGHTING RESOURCES:
- 9L water extinguisher inside back door.
- Powder extinguisher above sink in kitchen.
- Rubbish bins, buckets, plastic bins and tubs from laundry and shed.
- Laundry, kitchen and bathroom sinks.
- Mop and hoses from shed.
- Tank water relies on the pump which will fail if 240v power is lost.
- Neighbour’s mains water may be available using hoses from our shed.
(a) From O’Brien’s tap our side of their house. (East)
(b) Tap at Drake’s back door. (West)
(c) Ridgeway’s hose in bottom of yard near large green shed.
(d) Access emergency water by puncturing plastic water tank.
- The fire box on the laundry shelf contains – Sturdy boots and woollen socks. Long trousers and long sleeved tops or overalls. Cotton or leather gloves. Broad brimmed hats. Masks or handkerchiefs. Goggles.
WHEN THERE IS A FIRE:
- Notify family , charge mobile phones and backup power packs. Turn radio to ABC 774.
- Move vehicles (+historical photos and valuables), to open area on Merricks Beach Road.
- Clear deck. Remove net and buoys, furniture, doormats, BBQ. Remove BBQ gas bottle to rear of block. Turn off mains gas supply.
- Remove litter from around deck and house.
- Join hoses together to make one long hose.
IF YOU DECIDE TO STAY:
- Block down pipes and fill spouts with water. Dampen side of house facing fire.
- Fill all water containers: bins, sinks, buckets inside. Fill water bottles.
- Collect step ladder & extension ladder, mops, hoses & fittings, rakes, shovels, chain saw & fuel, wrecking lever, axe, saws, helmets etc and store inside. Close shed.
- Put on protective clothing and footwear.
- Close all windows, doors and pull curtains. Move furniture away from windows. Place wet towels under doors and window cracks. Actively check inside of house and roof.
- Step ladder to manhole. Buckets and torch in manhole.