The CFA will have a lot to answer for
if its pro evacuation policy goes wrong.
FireReady, 2012-2013 edition is all about leaving.
But though devoting
half its pages to this,
it has not one sentence
on how to do so safely.
Not one page on sheltering safely
- though doing so unsafely caused 27% of Black Saturday deaths-
Not one paragraph of how to defend safely.
And nothing on personal safety by being protective clothed.
Errors, inaccuracies and contradictions abound:
‘No house can withstand a fire on a Code Red day’ (p13). There is no evidence to prove this is right and plenty to prove it wrong. The evidence of one’s eyes of the many saved on Black Saturday and the evidence of scientific investigations.
‘Grassfire can surge at speeds of up to 45 km/h’ giving the impression of such a speed for the fire ‘which the world’s fastest man could not outrun (p4). The highest speed clocked for grassfires is 22 km/h . Expert evidence given at the Royal Commission was fire ‘pulses’ at that speed, but only ‘for about half a minute’.
A ‘relocation kit’ should contain a ‘wool blanket’. People have died sheltering under blankets of mixed wool-synthetic. This must be a pure wool blanket.
‘You should only stay with your house if it is constructed to the highest levels to withstand a bushfire’ (p13). These ‘highest levels’ in the bushfire building regulations insist on brick cladding - yet look at all the shells of brick houses destroyed in every bushfire. They ignore the notorious roof/ceiling space and the material of internal wall linings that give off toxic gases when smouldering.
The pages are littered with panic phrases:
‘If you have to leave quickly’ (p5), ‘grab it (relocation kit) and go’ (p8), ‘get out quickly when it is time to go’ (ps8,10), ‘Where you can go if you have left it too late …’ (p15).
‘A fire has started spreading rapidly …make sure you know … where you can go…’
The fact is ‘People die trying to leave their homes at the last minute’. (p 6).
An oxymoron: ‘Evacuation will only be recommended if there is an imminent threat and evacuation can be undertaken safely’ (p16).
A conundrum: ‘If you have …only (one) exit route, what are you going to do is it is blocked by a fallen tree, livestock or powerlines’ (ps5, 14) (Not to mention cut off by a spot fire.) No matter how many exit routes you have, you can only be on one at a time – if you are blocked, the only solution is fly or dematerialize.