Sunday, November 25, 2012

Joan Webster OAM         MEDIA RELEASE      
The Complete Australian Bushfire Book
The Complete Bushfire Safety Book
Essential Bushfire Safety Tips

CFA’s  FireReady advice misleading,
demonstrably untrue

CFA’s advice in Fire Action Week newspaper insert:
‘No house can withstand a fire in Code Red conditions
– so defending your home is impossible’
is irresponsibly misleading and demonstrably untrue.

 It is not based on any investigations or scientific research.
Nor on evidence from the 2009 bushfires Royal Commission.

On the contrary: Issues in community bushfire safety: Analyses of interviews,
an investigation conducted by the 2009 Victorian bushfires research task force, who interviewed nearly 500 survivors of Black Saturday’s ‘Code Red’ bushfires in Beechworth, Bendigo, Bunyip, Churchill, Horsham, Kilmore, Murrindindi, and Narre Warren,  found that 80% of those who stayed and defended their homes, did so successfully.

A research project by eminent bushfire scientists from the Bushfire CRC, Review of fatalities in the February 7, 2009, bushfires, revealed that of the fatalities who had
decided to defend their homes, only 6.8% had undertaken appropriate activity before the Kilmore East fires started at 1.30 pm.

They found that almost every Black Saturday loss was caused not by ‘Code Red’ weather, nor by defending one’s home—but by apathy, ignorance, and confused

Many, many, householders who understood how to react safely to a bushfire threat, who had thoroughly worked out plans based on the best available knowledge and who had frequently practiced their plans, saved their homes, their precious
possessions, and their families together on Black Saturday.

To instill the fear that under severe bushfire conditions no homes can be saved is heartrendingly cruel. It persuades families that, ‘It doesn’t matter about the house’. But it matters afterwards - when they stand in front of the pile of rubble that was once the essence of their life.

Historically, it is extremely rare for people who are very well prepared and practiced to die defending their homes.

Joan Webster is available for interview
or to review
Essential Bushfire Safety Tips (CSIRO)   Newly released, updated, 3rd edition