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Radiant Heat (Bushfire) Restrictions and Total Fire Ban Days - what can I do?
Radio Frequencies Returning calls /escalation of calls
Regions - CFS Returning home
Regions - SES Road and traffic restrictions
Remaining in property during fire Road caught on during bushfire
Remaining in property during severe weather events Road closures
Reporting breaches of fire restrictions or fire bans  
   

RADIO  FREQUENCIES

Question: What radio station should I listen to?

ABC Frequency Finder - find the callers radio frequency by entering their postcode, town or suburb.

Also refer to the CFS keep informed webpage.

Do not rely on one single source for emergency warning information.

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RADIANT HEAT (BUSHFIRE)

While exposure to radiant heat is the principle cause of loss of life in bushfires, it rarely causes buildings to catch fire. In extreme cases it may ignite timber directly but this only happens when a large quantity of fuel burns close to the building.

More importantly, radiant heat can break glass (due to different rates of expansion between the glass and window frame) allowing the entry of sparks and flames into the building. It may also heat up a building making ignition by embers easier.

Research has shown that ember attack is the main cause of homes catching alight during bushfires.

Hazardous vegetation close to a building will increase the possibility of losing the building during spark and ember attack.

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RESTRICTIONS & TOTAL FIRE BAN DAYS (WHAT CAN I DO?)

Question: Can I have a barbecue, spit or campfire?

Question: Can I use an incinerator or machinery such as tractors, slashers, grinders or chainsaws? 

Question: Can I light a fire in the open air for burning off grass, scrub, stubble or rubbish?

Refer to : the CFS What Can I do what can't I do webpage.  

There is a wealth of information on the CFS website or in the CFS Bushfire Booklets which can provide the caller with guidance on fire safety and practices in the event of a Total Fire Ban or during the Fire Danger Season.

If the caller does not have Internet access you can offer to post a copy of the CFS Bushfire Booklets.

Question: If it's going to be a Total Fire Ban the next day, what happens to existing ignited burn-offs?

They need to be extinguished before midnight. The permit is rescinded by the declaration of the Total Fire Ban.

Bushfire Information Brochures are available via all CFS Offices and Local Government Offices - information is also available on the CFS website www.cfs.sa.gov.au. Most of the publications are available in a printable PDF format.
 

Question: Is it a Fire Ban today / Tomorrow / on the weekend?

Question: Is It A Total Fire Ban Or Fire Danger Period Today / Tomorrow?

Establish where the caller if calling from and provide advice based on the CFS website under fire restrictions  

On occasion, but rarely, the weather forecast changes overnight, and the figures we get first thing in the morning are worse than were predicted the night before. We may then declare a Total Fire Ban.

Tomorrow / Weekend

Fire bans are broadcast on radio and television on the evening news and will apply for 24 hours from midnight to midnight the following day. If extreme weather conditions develop suddenly a Total Fire Ban could be announced as late as 7.00am on the morning of the ban.

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REMAINING IN PROPERTY DURING FIRE

Question: If I stay in my house during the fire, how long will it be before it is safe to come out and what should I do next?

Refer to the CFS factsheet Emergency Warning Messages Watch and Act
 

Fire can threaten suddenly and without warning so you should always be ready to act.

The CFS will provide as much information as possible to help you make an informed decision however you may not always receive an official warning directly.
Monitor the CFS website www.cfs.sa.gov.au and your local ABC Radio station or FIVEaa on a battery powered radio. It is recommended you do not rely on a single source for emergency information.

Refer to the CFS factsheet On the Day of a Bushfire
 

Refer to the CFS factsheet What to do in the Event of a Bushfire
 

During the fire:

  • Go inside when it becomes too hot to stay outside. The skin on your ears and hands will alert you that conditions have become too hot to survive outside. Your home will protect you from radiant heat while the fire front passes through - typically taking around 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Take all firefighting equipment inside with you, including tap fittings and hoses.
  • Stay inside your house while the fire front passes and listen to the radio for Emergency Warning messages Watch & Act

After the fire front has passed:

  • Continue to wear your personal protective clothing.
  • After the main fire front passes, go outside again as soon as it is safe, to extinguish any small fires that may have started.
  • Water down the outside of the house, including the roof, and look out for small fires around your house.
  • Continue to look out for small fires and burning embers many hours after the fire has passed. Check for burning embers:
    ? inside the roof
    ? under the floor boards
    ? under house spaces
    ? on verandas and wooden decking
    ? on timber window ledges and door sills
    ? roof lines and roof gutters
    ? outdoor furniture
    ? doormats
    ? garden beds and mulch
    ? wood heaps
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REMAINING IN PROPERTY DURING SEVERE WEATHER EVENTS

Question: If I stay in my house during a severe weather event, how long will it be before it is safe to come out and what should I do next?

During a storm:

  • Stay inside and shelter clear of windows.
  • Listen to your radio for storm updates.

Avoid the following during a storm:

  • Using electrical and metal appliances.
  • Using the phone unless you need to make an emergency call, lightning can travel indoors via a phone line. If you must make a call use a cordless or mobile phone.
  • Wide open areas and higher elevations, including sport fields and beaches;
  • Tall isolated objects like trees, poles, and light posts;
  • Water related activities: boating, swimming (includes indoor pools), and fishing;
  • Golfing;
  • Open vehicles like open farm tractors, open construction vehicles, riding lawn mowers, and golf carts (even with roofs); and
  • Metal fences.

After the Storm:

  • Check your house for damage.
  • Report any fallen or damaged power lines to ETSA Utilities on 13 13 66.
  • Check trees for damage and stability.
  • Listen to your radio for further weather information.
  • Check on your neighbours if safe to do so.

During a flood:

  •  If floodwater is entering your home, switch off electricity at the switchboard.
  •  Turn off the main gas valve at the meter.
  •  Turn off the water at the meter.
  •  Empty freezers and refrigerators and leave doors open.
  •  Block the toilet bowl with a strong plastic bag filled with earth or sand to prevent back flow of sewage into your home.
  • Cover drains in showers, baths, laundries etc. with a strong plastic bag filled with earth or sand to prevent back flow of sewage into your home.
  • Tune to your local radio for warnings and advice.
  • If you choose to evacuate, ensure you tell a neighbour or friend where you are going.
  • Lock your home and take recommended evacuation routes for your area.
  • Don't drive into water of unknown depth and current.

If you stay, or on your return?

  • Before entering your property make sure it is safe to do so.
  • Wait until the water has dropped before floor level.
  • Do not turn on any lights or appliances until a qualified electrician has checked the entire electrical system in your home including appliances.
  • Stay tuned to local radio for updated advice.
  • Don't allow children to play in, or near, flood waters.
  • Avoid entering flood waters. If you must, wear solid shoes and check depth and current with a stick. Stay away for drains, culverts and water over knee-deep.
  • Don't eat food which has been in flood waters.
  • Boil tap water until supplies have been declared safe.
  • When floodwater rises, it is common for spiders, snakes rates and mice to look for a drier home - often inside houses. If floodwater has been through the property please check for unwanted visitors.
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REGIONS

CFS Regions

In order to effectively manage a state-wide organisation and to provide a responsive emergency service, SA Country Fire Service has divided the State into six geographic Regions.
Each Region is locally managed by a Regional Office and headed up by a Regional Commander who reports to the Manager, Operations Services based at State Headquarters.
Regions are shown on the map on the CFS website
 

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RETURNING HOME- Bushfire

Question: I have heard there's a fire in my area, should I go home?

Question: We have a holiday house there.  Should we go there ourselves now or will it be OK?

Check the State Incident Summary for any fires in the area of the caller. If there is information in State Incident Summary that relates to the caller's locality please use this information ONLY to ascertain the status of the fire ("going" or "controlled" etc).

If there is no information in the State Incident Summary that relates to the caller's locality advise them to continue to listen to the radio for news or incident updates. (ABC Radio (891) 5AA (1395) on the AM band or their local ABC Radio) on a battery operated radio.

While the fire is listed as "Going" or "Not yet under Control" the following applies:

  • Residents of the area not currently at home should not at this time try to return to the area as access is limited and the roads may not be safe.
  • If the fire is listed as "Contained" or "Controlled" then persons may return to their homes. BUT, it needs to be expressed that:
    • There may still be roadblocks in place
    • Caution will need to be used and drivers must be aware of the possibility for;
      • Power lines to be down across roads.
      • Trees to be down across roads.
      • Smoke to be present in the area, so drive according to these conditions and use caution.
      • Be aware of fire and other emergency vehicles travelling in the area around the fire.
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RETURNING HOME - FLOOD

Question: I have heard there's a severe weather incident in my area, should I go home?

Question: We have a holiday house there.  Should we go there ourselves now or will it be OK?

Check the SES Website for any incidents in the area of the caller. If there is information on the SES website that relates to the caller's locality please use this information ONLY to provide a status update.

If there is no information on the SES website that relates to the caller's locality advise them to continue to listen to the a battery operated radio for news or incident updates. Local ABC radio is the official Emergency Broadcaster.

During an incident, the following applies:

  • Residents of the area not currently at home should not at this time try to return to the area as access is limited and the roads may not be safe.
  • When it is safe to return for people to return to their homes, it needs to be expressed that:
    • There may still be roadblocks in place
    • Caution will need to be used and drivers must be aware of the possibility for;
    • Power lines to be down across roads.
    • Trees to be down across roads.
    • Heavy rain, fog to be present in the area, so drive according to these conditions and use caution.
    • Be aware of fire and other emergency vehicles travelling in the area around the incident.
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REPORTING FIRE LIGHTING OR BREACHES OF FIRE BAN

Question: To whom do I report alleged fire lighting or possible breaches to the Total Fire Ban proclamation?

The SA Fire & Emergency Services Act 2005 deliberately focuses on responsibility sitting with the fire lighter or the person who finds a fire occurring and the powers of officers to take certain actions or make directions to deal with the incident.  The officer attending has the discretion with regard to actions to be undertaken.

In regards to fire lighting or alleged Total Fire Ban breach:

  • If the situation is potentially life threatening or the caller actually saw the alleged offence, they need to ring 000 and report it.
  • If it is not an emergency the caller needs to call SA Police on 131444 or contact their local police station. Police stations are listed in the White Pages.

The caller will be asked to report on:

  •  Where it is happening - nearest cross roads etc.
  •  What is happening?
  •  Does the caller know the offender and if so what is their name/address/phone number.
  •  Description of any vehicles (car rego/make and model/colour etc.
  •  Any other relevant details.

In regards to a suspected breach of fire restrictions:

Tell the caller that they need to contact their local council and ask to speak to the District Fire Prevention Officer (FPO). It is the local council who issues fire permits. The caller should report the suspected breach and give the address.

The caller should discuss their concerns re their suspicions concerning the breach of fire restrictions. The FPO will check if a permit has been issued and deal with it appropriately.

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ROAD, CAUGHT ON

Question: If caught on the road in a Bushfire?

If you see a bushfire in the distance, carefully pull over to the side of the road to assess the situation. If it is safe to do so turn around and drive to safety.

If you have been trapped by the fire it will be necessary to find a suitable place to situate the car and shelter from the intense radiant heat.

There are a whole range of factors that may impact on survival chances, the following guidelines may help to minimise the level of risk:

Positioning your vehicle

  • Find a clearing away from dense bush and high ground fuel loads.
  • If possible minimise exposure to radiant heat by parking behind a natural barrier such as a rocks
  • Position vehicle facing towards oncoming fire front.
  • Park vehicle off the roadway to avoid collisions with other vehicles in poor visibility.
  • Don't park too close to other vehicles.

Actions to take inside your vehicle

  • Stay inside your vehicle - it offers the best level of protection from the radiant heat as the fire front passes.
  • Turn headlights and hazard warning lights on to make the vehicle as visible as possible.
  • Turn the engine off
  • Tightly close all windows and doors.
  • Shut all the air vents and turn air conditioning off.
  • Get down below the window level and shelter under woollen blankets.
  • Drink water to minimise the risks of dehydration.

What to expect as the fire front passes

  • Stay in the vehicle until the fire front has passed and the temperature has dropped outside.
  • Fuel tanks are very unlikely to explode.
  • As the fire front approaches, the intensity of the heat will increase along with smoke and embers.
  • Smoke gradually gets inside the vehicle and fumes will be released from the interior of the car. Stay as close to the floor as possible to minimise inhalation and cover mouth with a moist cloth.
  • Tyres and external plastic body parts may catch alight. In more extreme cases the vehicle interior may catch on fire.
  • Once the fire front has passed and the temperature has dropped, cautiously exit the vehicle. (Be careful - internal parts will be extremely hot.)
  • Move to a safe area e.g. a strip of land that has already burnt.
  • Stay covered in woollen blankets, continue to drink water and await assistance.
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ROAD CLOSURE INFORMATION

Question: Where are the roadblocks? Can residents go through them to get to their properties?

Information on Road Closures is available from the Police Call Centre on 131444. They are also usually on the police website.

If the caller is intending on travelling to a location that has or is experiencing a significant fire incident, advise them to determine the most up to date information on the fire conditions and road closures in that locality.

Look through the State Incident Summary to gather information that may be useful to the caller.

Encourage the caller to listen to local ABC radio for updates.

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ROAD REPORTS AND TRAFFIC RESTRICTIONS (DTEI)

Transport Services Northern & Western temporary closures and restrictions Road Report for SA 1300 361 033

Metropolitan Road Conditions, Road Hazards & Signal Faults (Freecall 24 hours) 1800 018 313

Question: How will the ambulance get through if the roads are closed?

The roads are normally closed to non emergency services traffic. This is done, in part, to allow unimpeded access for emergency vehicles. Closing roads also ensures that non-essential traffic is kept out of the area to ensure personal safety  

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PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Question: Is public transport still running?

Road closures by SA Police during extreme weather events may prevent public transport from running. People using public transport are encouraged to check Adelaide Metro web-site or phone the InfoLine on 08 8210 1000 for up-to-date information.

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ESCALATION OF CALL / RETURNING CALLS

We are unable to escalate calls to other emergency services or triple zero (000). We are also unable to provide a return calls to callers. You will need to advise the caller the following:

I am sorry however this is an emergency information service only and we are unable to return calls. If your concern relates to a life threatening emergency then please call Triple Zero (000). The emergency services ask that you monitor your local radio station and the CFS/MFS/SAPOL/SES websites which are updated regularly.  If you do not have access to these, please return a call to us at a later stage.