Saturday, December 28, 2013

Evacuation and heat stress

The Fire Services Commissioner has warned people to stay out of the heat today. 
To not risk heat stress. 
At the same time, his advice to rural people for safety from a potential bushfire, 
is to leave their homes for a place far from bushfire danger. 
You can’t do both.

Guaranteed bushfire safety by ‘leaving’ – which means to a very large town or city – involves driving long distances. Not every car has air conditioning. Not everyone has cars. Some travel by motor cycle. Some by bicycle. Some by train. Trains are often cancelled on very hot days, because of rail buckle. 

Convoys of evacuating cars become ‘stuck’. stationary.
 In heat, carburetors can vaporise, a car stall, and the lot are stuck.
Roads can be blocked by fallen trees, by spot fires ahead 
or officially – as yesterday with the Great Ocean Road. 

On Black Saturday 173 died in the firegrounds; 300 died of heat stress.

It is possible to safely defend one’s home; on Black Saturday, 80% of home defenders were successful. It is possible to shelter safely. With knowledge. 
There is no evidence that anyone died while following correct safety procedure.
Whichever option you choose, your life can depend on 
wearing protective clothing, having a pure wool blanket and drinking water.