Friday, 21 September 2012


by Deanne Burrell
On Saturday 25 August 2012 the Annual General Meeting of the Waitati Volunteer Fire Brigade was held at the fire station and a great night was enjoyed by all.  It was reported that for the 2011 year the brigade had attended 42 calls, which is a major reduction from the previous year.  Factors such as weather and road safety played a part in this reduction but we also believe that work undertaken by the brigade on community awareness has also contributed.  Since the previous AGM one new member had joined the brigade.  We would like to welcome Sam Todd.  Sam is our youngest member and shows great enthusiasm and motivation.
Congratulations to the following members who received awards on the night:
Fire Fighter of the YearSharon Brogan.  This award is decided by members of the brigade.  It is awarded to the person that the members feel contributed that little bit extra to the brigade during the year, so congratulations Sharon on an award well deserved.
Best AttendanceJeff Burrows & Lindsay Scott.  Jeff's and Lindsay's dedication and commitment to the brigade is constant and very much appreciated.
Incident Attendance – Seraya Figgins.  Thank you Seraya for the commitment you put into helping your community.
Piston Broke Trophy (oopsy award) Keith Templeton.  (run Jeff run) we will say no more!
Spring is here once again and here are some easy fire safety tips that will help ensure a fire-free entrance to this summer:
This year, while doing your spring cleaning, make it a priority to also conduct a spring fire safety check of your home to ensure that you and your home are as safe as possible.  You can reduce the likelihood of a fire in your home, and protect yourself, your family and your property from devastation by following these easy tips.
Practice spring safety while spring cleaning!
As you make your way from room to room with your feather duster, your vacuum and mop pay special attention to the following 'hotspots' and correct any potentially dangerous situations.
Electrical wiring, outlets and appliances
Overloaded electrical circuits, faulty electrical equipment and misuse of electrical equipment are common causes of fire.  If you have any concern about the performance of appliances like electric blankets, heaters, air conditioners or fans, have them checked by a qualified electrician.
Do not overload multiboards with double adaptors.  Remember -- one appliance per socket (multiboard or wall).
Ensure that leads on appliances are in good condition and not frayed.
Extension cords are not designed as permanent replacements to your home's internal wiring. Never put them under carpets or mats or use them while they are tightly coiled.
Turn off and, where practicable, unplug appliances when not in use.
Keep electrical appliances clear of water.
When buying second-hand appliances ensure that they have been tested by a licensed electrician or gas fitter and have been certified as safe.
Do not place fans, heaters, televisions or other electrical equipment in areas with restricted airflow as overheating may occur.
Confirm that no flammable materials are within one metre of an electrical heater.
Be smart! Use smoke alarms -- add smoke alarm maintenance to your spring cleaning list.
Smoke alarms are very easy to care for.  They require only two minor scheduled tasks:
1.  Replace the batteries once a year.  You may opt to schedule this yearly change to coincide with daylight saving, or perhaps schedule the change for an easily remembered day, such as your birthday or wedding anniversary.
2.  Keep them clean.  Just as you dust your bookshelves, make sure that your smoke alarm is free from dust and debris, as it may interfere with proper functioning.  A quick vacuum around the smoke alarm regularly will do the trick.
Plan your fire protocol NOW!  Planning now, can prevent tragedy later.
Now is also a good time to sit down with your family and devise an escape plan.  All of your family need to understand the escape plan and to practise escaping from each room in the house by the two exits.
Most fires start in kitchens (25%), bedrooms (13%), and lounges and family rooms (16%). Make sure your family practises escaping from these rooms every three to six months.
Remember, you need to:
Ø  Have working smoke alarms
Ø  Know two ways out of every room, if possible
Ø  Make sure that doors and windows needed for escape are clear and easy to open, and that there is a safe way to reach the ground from upper floors.
Ø  Keep keys in deadlocks at all times when home.
Ø  Have an outside meeting place, such as a letterbox or a special tree.
Ø  Make special plans for young children and older people.
Currently it is a RESTRICTED SEASON.  Restricted season 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 applied for at least two weeks prior to the event and are subject to a site safety inspection.
If you intend to burn rubbish in a backyard fire then you need to be aware of the following:  These items can be burned -- paper, cardboard, plant matter and untreated wood.  The material must be dry.  The plant material must not be 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 50 metres from any boundary, and the smoke must not be a nuisance to your neighbours.

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