Before fire season starts, there are a number of things landowners must ensure are in place – to prepare for wildfires. Here is a farmer’s checklist to guide our members BEFORE the start of fire season.
Help us find water sources when fighting fire on your property. MARK your water points with signage so that we can easily see them.
Is your fire unit (bakkie sakkie) and other fire equipment working? Have you checked the pumps? Make sure your fire equipment won’t let you down if you’re threatened by a wildfire. This is your chance to do some maintenance before fire season starts.You can find a list of fire-fighting equipment suppliers here.
Do you know the best possible exit routes from your farm, should you need to evacuate? Plan routes from your farmhouses and barns. And make sure your family members and workers know exactly which routes they should take if a wildfire threatens. (Remember to review this when you move livestock, taking gates into consideration.)
Draw a rough map of your farm. Include your boundaries. On the map, highlight: Your buildings | Your water points or water sources | The escape roads. Then keep it in your vehicle. And share it with the Incident Commander should a fire threaten or start on your farm.
Post the Fire Department’s phone number next to your landline (or somewhere you can’t miss it). Or make sure it’s saved on your cellphone under a name you’ll find easily.
Remember: Phone 028 312 2400 for fires in the Overstrand. Or 028 425 1690 for fires in the rest of the Overberg.
Fire-fighters will try to protect any infrastructure on your farm during a #wildfire. That includes your home and your staff’s homes, your shed and your fencing. But we must know where it is. So remember to mark your critical infrastructure on your map (you’ll keep this in your bakkie this #FireSeason, and give it to the Incident Commander at a fire).
Have you considered how your farm gates could hamper fire-fighting efforts? Landowners: Check your gates are both high and wide enough for a fire engine to get through, to get to a fire. If they’re not, then plan alternative routes (and communicate this to the fire-fighting teams during a fire).
Wildfires are STRESSFUL. It’s often difficult to act calmly when a fire threatens. So make life easy for yourself. Post clear directions to your farm next to your landline, or somewhere easily accessible. It’ll help fire-fighting teams find your farm without delays.