Monday, 23 November 2009

WAITATI VOLUNTEER FIRE BRIGADE (column)

WAITATI VOLUNTEER FIRE BRIGADE

By Deanne Burrell

Guy Fawkes Night has been and gone and we are happy to say that the
Brigade only attended one call out related to fireworks, so well done
everybody in the Blueskin Bay community.

The countdown has now started to the Christmas and New Year holiday
period. We want to see everybody having a safe and joyous time but
would like to remind people of a few rules that need to be adhered to
if you are planning outdoor fires. We don't like to spoil people's
fun but if we are called to an outdoor fire and the correct procedures
have not been followed then we are required to extinguish the fire.

Currently it is a 'Restricted' season. This means that no fire may be
lit in the open air without a permit. A permit is required for all
outdoor burning, other than gas barbecues and incinerators, at any
time of the year. All new permit applications must be made at least
two weeks prior to the event and are subject to a site safety
inspection.

No fires are permitted on beaches and no fires are allowed to remain
alight after dark except those specifically issued for bonfires at New
Year, Guy Fawkes or significant community celebrations.

If you intend to burn rubbish in a back yard fire then you need to be
aware that only paper, cardboard, plant matter and untreated wood may
be burned. The material must be dry, not green, so you can't burn
material just cut from living plants. Wood must not be painted,
varnished or treated, or contain glues or other plastics. The fire
must be 50m from any boundary and the smoke must not be a nuisance to
your neighbours.

Camping and outdoor activities are often a great way to spend your
leisure time but they have their own set of unique fire risks that
should not be underestimated. However, some common-sense preparation
can ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.


Caravanning

Caravans are smaller and more confined than a house so the fire risks
can be potentially more hazardous. It is essential that you install a
smoke alarm to give early warning of a fire and follow these
precautions to reduce your risks:

On a caravan site, find out what the firefighting arrangements are.

Never leave children alone in a caravan - they are particularly vulnerable.

A fully charged water fire extinguisher or dry powder fire
extinguisher should be located in the caravan near an exit door and a
fire blanket should be adjacent to the cooking area.

Keep a torch handy for emergencies - never use candles.

Make sure everyone knows how to operate escape windows and doors.

Keep gas cylinders outside the caravan unless a special ventilated
compartment is provided.


Fire Safety in the Countryside

Every year fire is responsible for the destruction of thousands of
acres of countryside, open spaces and wildlife habitat. Many of these
fires are started deliberately but by following a few simple
precautions and showing a little extra care, many others could be
prevented:

Dispose of smoking materials properly and make sure they are
completely extinguished.

Don't leave camp fires or barbecues unattended and extinguish them
properly after use.

Clear away bottles, glasses and any broken glass to prevent them
magnifying the sun's rays and starting a fire.

Explain to children the dangers of playing with lighted fires.

If fire breaks out, call the Fire & Rescue Service immediately. When
specifying your location, mention any landmarks - perhaps a church or
pub - and if phoning from a phone box, stay nearby so you can direct
the fire appliances to the scene.

Don't attempt to fight the fire yourself unless it is very small -
grass and crop fires can travel very quickly.


Camping

Every year, many people are injured from fire whilst camping. The
following fire safety precautions will help ensure you don't become
one of them:

Allow at least 6 metres (18 feet) spacing between tents.

Never use candles in or near a tent - always use a torch.

Discourage smoking - especially in smaller tents.

Do not use cooking equipment in smaller tents.

Ensure everyone knows the location of the nearest telephone and if
applicable nearest fire point in case of emergency.


Cooking

Keep cookers away from the tent entrance.

Make certain the cooker is stable, away from draughts and in an area
where they will not get knocked over.

Keep flammables (including long grass) away from the cooking area.

Avoid using liquid fuel appliances if at all possible.

Only change disposable gas cylinders when they are completely empty.


The Waitati Volunteer Fire Brigade would like to wish all residents of
the Blueskin Bay community a very merry Christmas and a happy, safe,
and prosperous New Year.

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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media:
voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff,
Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point), Dunedin, New Zealand.
All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public
domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished.
If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".

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