Cockburn firefighters return from Queensland bushfires

Volunteer firies Will Fogarty, Bob Haddrell and Steve Goedecke have returned from battling bushfires in Queensland. Photo: Jon Hewson. d489424 communitypix.com.au.
Volunteer firies Will Fogarty, Bob Haddrell and Steve Goedecke have returned from battling bushfires in Queensland. Photo: Jon Hewson. d489424 communitypix.com.au.

EIGHT Cockburn firefighters have made it home safely after spending a week battling bushfires in Queensland.

Four members of the South Coogee Bush Fire Bridge and four from the Jandakot Bush Fire Brigade were among a contingency of 94 WA career and volunteer firefighters who travelled east to help battle more than 110 fires burning across the northern parts of Queensland over two weeks.

They travelled to areas such as Northampton, Bundaberg, Agnes Waters, Mackay, Brisbane and Cairns to provide much needed help and relief support to the Queensland firefighters who were working tirelessly to douse the flames.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) operations capability assistant commissioner Gary Gifford said it was important for WA firefighters to answer a call for help from other states.

“They were happy to be able to provide some respite to their Queensland colleagues and help protect lives and homes,” he said.

“Western Australia is a signatory of the AFAC National Resource Sharing Agreement, which means WA will provide assistance to other states when required and that assistance is reciprocated in our time of need.

“This is an extremely important agreement that provides specialist teams and respite in times of crisis.”

Mr Gifford said the Queensland crisis should be a reminder to WA residents to be prepared.

“What happened in Queensland is a stark reminder for us in Western Australia that bushfires can happen any time anywhere, and when they do they can be catastrophic, life threatening and ultimately devastating,” he said.

“If you live near bushland you need to prepare your property for the bushfire season.”

 

Bushfire Ready Tips

Prepare your property and clear the immediate area around your home by pruning trees, cutting long grass, clearing your gutters and removing rubbish.

Install a mesh guard on your air conditioner and block any gaps under floor spaces, in the roof and under eaves to keep sparks and embers out.

Use the 5-minute Fire Chat to decide on your bushfire plan and enact it early to avoid making last minute decisions that could prove deadly.

Have an emergency kit ready to go in case you are evacuated or cut off during a bushfire including essential supplies such as a radio, spare batteries, torch, first aid kit, woollen blanket, water and non-perishable food.

During a bushfire people should stay alert to their surroundings by checking the Emergency WA website, calling 13 DFES (133 337), following DFES on Facebook and Twitter, and listening to radio and local news bulletins.

If there is a fire nearby, don’t wait for a text message or for a knock on the door. If you see smoke or flames, take action immediately to survive.

For more information on how to prepare for bushfires visit firechat.wa.gov.au.