Some of us live on the edge. Occupying that space where suburbia and nature meet, we are the thin blue line. Neighbours standing side-by-side, ever vigilant to the threat of bushfires impacting our homes and communities.
Dressed in smart blue protective overalls, highly trained volunteers form the front line on that urban edge.
A simple glance across the landscape reveals a telling a tale. We need rain. The 'corn flakes crunch' factor is high. With so much natural bushland surrounding our beautiful capital there comes a level of shared responsibility, a heightened sense of situational awareness. A keen eye towards the real threat of bushfires. We live in a fire-prone landscape.
With lessons learned from the 2003 firestorm, ACT Fire and Rescue established a wonderful community bushfire safety program known as Community Fire Units.
Strategically located on the urban interface, these neighbourhood volunteers have a real sense of community spirit. Community Fire Units reflect the diversity of our neighbourhoods. Members of the units are skilled and trained, working with ACT Fire and Rescue to safeguard their homes and their wider community in the event of a bushfire.
Each volunteer is knowledgeable in the use of firefighting equipment, the intricacies of operating a portable pump, radio communications, fire behaviour and most importantly, personal safety. Complementing this comprehensive training regime is a fully equipped fire trailer for every CFU operating across our community. These highly visible, yellow fire trailers are tactically located in local streets, ready to be activated at a moment's notice.
While October 1 signifies the start of the bushfire season, without significant rain, I suspect it's going to be a challenging summer ahead. In preparation, this Saturday, Community Fire Units from across the bush capital are reaching out to their community, conducting information sessions designed to raise awareness.
With the fire season ahead, perhaps it's timely that you pause and prepare your own bushfire survival plan, so that you can act quickly if needs be to survive this summer.
- Brett McNamara is with ACT Parks & Conservation Service.