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Monday, 30 November 2015

I made it!

Last post on Fireys for a while, I promise.  I'm very proud, though. I made it through the courses and since I'd already completed the other prerequisites, as soon as my own personal protective equipment arrives, I'll be able to join the team at Sawyers Valley Volunteer Bushfire Brigade properly.  I'm still waiting to see what form that will take, but at least I'm one step closer.

One of the fun things we did, with a very serious reason, was Burnover Drill.  As they stress over and over, you never, ever, ever want to be in a burnover situation, but if you are, you need to be able to get set for it very fast and very efficiently, and that takes practice.

Inside those heat shield curtains, we are hunched down under special fireproof blankies. 

I got to have my turn with Andy, who is the husband of a lady who is already a full member of the brigade, Nikki.  Nikki is a very cool lady and her Andrew was really helpful and stayed calm, even when we were both crouched down under hot, stinky blankets in the cab of the Light Tanker, in the pitch black because we had all the reflective curtains down fully. Part of my job was to do the radio communications, and I realised I hadn't brought the radio head under my blankie with me. I said, "Oh oh, I should have the radio with me," and a hand almost instantly appeared under my blanket and handed it to me. What a guy!

Anyway, the drill goes; set up your hose and have one person at vehicle and one using hose.  I'm not kissing it for luck, I was blowing dirt off it before connecting!

Siren goes off to warn you to return to vehicle immediately.  Andy hears the siren and shuts off the hose and drops it. This is an emergency, fire is about to come right over us and no time to escape, so bugger the hose!

We scramble into the Tanker and I use radio to communicate our emergency (Fairly badly I might add, need more practice!) while Andy begins getting the curtains down and opening the fire blankets.  Then we close it all down and get under our blankies inside.

Oh oh, think I left a tiny bit of a gap! No good if it was the real thing!

We wait for the fire front to 'pass over', and while we do, Heather very kindly gives us a little air while she checks to see if we're tucked in properly.  Yep, feet and bum in!

It was good being short.  Apparently it's quite hard to fit in the driver's side of the light tanker, but I am so stumpy I fitted nicely.  Have to be some advantages!  :)

Once the fire front is past, you can check windows for heat, then poke your head out and have a look, and if it's safe, you get out, still wrapped in the blanket to protect yourself from radiant heat until you know it is safe. Awww, felt like the morning after a rough night of camping!

After that we put it all back together ready for the next people to have a go.

I hope I never have to use it in real life, but it was kind of fun to do just for practice.

These three guys were so nice and made the course more fun. Steve and Andy, on the ends, are fellow Sawyers Brigade people and the one in the middle with me is Neville from the Comms Brigade, Darling Range.  Thanks guys!  We all made it!


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