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Fire Safety - February 21, 2019

Painting by 11yr old, Leon Fenemor

Following on from the fires in Nelson I have spoken to a fire warden on how to keep safe and what to do if there is a fire. These are the key points:

  1. You should be looking/assessing your own properties from the perspective of keeping your house safe.
    Look at https://fireandemergency.nz/…/rural-home-fire-safety-check…/
    You can also block downpipes and set up sprinklers on your roof.
    If you live mid slope and know there is too much vegetation around your house – make sure you and your family have an evacuation plan – and flag your letter box when you have left and shut the gate.
  2. In the event of being trapped in a valley by fire or where there is only one exit/entry point look for a fire zone you can go to as a ‘safe zone’. Areas considered as safe Zones are places which have very low fuel loads (ie would only carry low intensity fires). Do not consider escape through a forest – danger – high fuel loads = high intensity – slope and wind = high spread rates. You are safer stayinglow and in clear areas. ALSO if you evacuate your house leave a high vis vest or such on your letterbox so neighbours don’t come and check when not necessary and possibly get trapped. Safe Zones should be an area where it is flat with minimal trees around (even better if a river is near by). Take with you wet woollen blankets to cover yourself.
  3. Due to the high fire risk we have spoken to the authorities about closing access to non-residents. This is to take extreme caution in the tinder dry conditions so there is less risk of a fire starting up. We live near reserves and extra cars driving around on dry grass is not something we want. If you are in a similar situation then it would be a
  4.  good idea to talk to your local council about the possibility of restricting access until the fire restrictions are lifted (ie when we get some rain!)
  5. We have picked up rubbish along the side of the roads as even a single can could be the cause of a fire starting up. Direct sunlight on the bottom of those aluminium cans is a huge fire risk in these weather conditions Nelson is facing.  Plus also a good opportunity to do some community rubbish clearing.
  6. Stay in contact with your neighbours. Have a fire plan and let your neighbours know. We have even started a messaging group of all the residents in our valley in case of an emergency. If someone sees fire or smoke then they can let everyone know with one message.

Stay safe out there

From Andrew, Jane and Alannah