Rural residents face a higher risk of losing more property from fire than their urban counterparts because fires are not noticed as quickly in sparsely populated areas. Add to this that alot of properties and/or homes (structures) are quite remote in some rural areas.
Response in rural areas can sometimes take a longer time than urban. Most rural areas in New Zealand are serviced by volunteer rural brigades. Although Rural Fire provide an excellent service, the time taken to respond to a fire emergency can be longer. Large areas are served, imperfect road conditions apply especially during winter months, and lack of adequate water supply can delay quick intervention.
Shelly Beach Fire suggests that as response times can be delayed on the South Head given that we are a voluntary brigade and dont get paid to be on station, consideration should be given to having your own Sprinker System installed in your home, and in those structures necessary and utilised for maintaining your livelihood.
This could save lives, and protect your property from fire.
Many rural dwellers' livelihoods, eg farming, would be seriously at threat if key buildings such as the milking shed, shearing shed or the family home were destroyed by fire.
Just as important is that there is a rising rate of medical callouts to these properties. Many medical responses are for heart attacks and/or farm accidents but are also Motor vehicle accidents.
There are special things rural dwellers need to remember in order to make their properties safer and allow for the emergency services ease of finding them.
* Installing a Sprinker System.
* Signposting your property. Rural property numbers are invaluable for a quick response by emergency vehicles.
* Do emergency vehicles have easy access?
* Is there an adequate water supply for use by emergency services?
* Can portable pumps be positioned within 7 metres of open water supplies?
* Is your firewood stacked away from the house?
* Have you read or have knowledge of Rodney District Bylaws relating to fires in the open air?
Read here for more information of the bylaws in html format or download the pdf here.
* Have someone stand outside on the road edge and wait for responding emergency vehicles to assist and direct crews to the incident.
For more information, contact your local Rural Fire Officer.