How will the new RFS alliance impact our local farmers?
FORGET a one-size-fits-all approach to fighting fires. Starting this season, farmers and producers will be able to customise firefighting efforts for their properties.
Last week an alliance was formed between NSW Rural Fire Service and farmers across the state to ensure a more efficient, personalised approach to protecting rural assets.
The recent NSW Bushfire Inquiry found that "… farmers typically value equipment, sheds, stock, crops, plantations, fencing and farm tracks.." However, the order of importance for assets varies for each individual property.
That's where the new partnership between RFS and farmers comes in.
The next time a fire crew arrives at a rural property, it won't be a guessing game for what to protect first. Instead, firefighters will be in direct communication with the property owner through UHF Channel 5.
From there, owners can help fire crews locate valuable water sources, as well as what assets to focus their attention on thereby significantly reducing inefficiencies and potentially dangerous situations during firefighting efforts.
However, fire prevention also forms a crucial part of this new alliance, with a targeted program designed to make rural properties fire ready.
The Farm Fire Plan promotes the top five actions to make a property safer, by taking property owners through the considerations of managing their property, promoting discussion of what they will do in the event of fire, the equipment they'll need if they decide to stay, and the importance of knowing the conditions and keeping up to date.
This initiative is especially important with the 2020-21 fire season expected to bring more grass fires due to wetter and warmer-than-average conditions promoting the growth of more vegetation and fuel for grass fires.
"NSW Farmers looks forward to further strengthening local partnerships, knowledge sharing, and communication with the NSW RFS over the coming months to ensure our grain crops, orchards and livestock are safe from the ravages of uncontrolled fires," NSW Farmers president James Jackson said.
A range of guides and tools are available to farmers on the NSW RFS website at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/planand-prepare/farm-fire-safety.