FIRE CFS VOLUNTEERS

We have fire again, not on our property this time but in the Ngarkat National Park that backs onto our property. It was started by a lightning strike about 5pm yesterday. My Husband went out to fight it about 7pm and arrived home at 230am in the morning. He was then called at 730am and asked to come back, he could be gone all day.

What have I done, I have put our fire plan into action, in Australia it’s Stay and Defend or Go. If you stay you need to be ready to defend, the property needs to be clear of trees and anything flammable – but the rate a fire moves nothing is safe, I have seen this first hand. I pack the car of the things we treasure and the paper work we would need should we ever lose anything in a fire. I take jewelry and photo’s as well as the computer back up drive and laptops. I pack medications for us and the dog and clothing, that is all as I have to fit the dogs x4 and cats x4 (if I can catch them) in the car so that I can go.

I have no idea what else I would pack and take, we are insured not that it covers everything but I can not think of anything else that I would load up a trailer and risk injuring myself or getting caught in a fire I could not fight on my own. Would I be sad to lose the house, absolutely devastated but they are things that can be replaced people and animals can’t.

Watching my husband get ready and leave to fight fire makes me worry about it. Having seen a fire here in 2012 it is frightening, its hot and the noise is loud. We got to 47.2 degree C 116.6 F here the hottest place in Australia yesterday Keith. My husband is a CFS (Country Fire Service) volunteer and as such is called to fires and works hard saving property and livestock. Yet under this Government he is not entitled to any compensation paid fire fighters are should he get sick. I have to wonder why? he and all the other volunteers do the same job as paid fire fighters, in-fact they don’t get to knock off for meal breaks, change of shift nor get paid over time to do the same work. The Labor Government in South Australia expects them to turn up and do the job for nothing (which they do) but will not allow compensation should they get cancer related illnesses that are directly linked to fires. It is disgraceful.

I don’t actually see the premier out here fighting for hours on an end in 45 degree heat with radiant heat being more than 10 degrees above this. The farmers have to do this in between looking after live stock, feeding live stock going about their daily chores and so can lose income from fighting fires, if the CFS guys & girls are from paid work they take the day off unpaid, you would think with the amount of stock and property these brave people have saved over their time, compensation should they get sick would be easily accessible. My husband has a National Medal for his years of service in the CFS and should he get sick or worse hurt in a fire, we will have to sell everything to look after him.

To all the volunteers everywhere that do such good works for people, places and property I salute you and value you and hope that your good deeds are repaid in kind.