Rebuilding buildings destroyed in the bush fires

Rebuilding buildings destroyed in the bush fires

In 1666, Sir Christopher Wren was already drawing up plans for the new London while the city was still burning during what we now know as the Great Fire of London. I am not sure we are as fast or long term thinking as those in the 17th Century.

One thing that is clear is that it would be fool hardy in the extreme to rebuild as was and expect a different result in the future. We see this in flood zones all the time and it is plain stupid.

In my own experience, on Christmas day, 2018 my own home caught fire due to a fault in a television. Following that fire I incorporated an isolation switch in the new wiring (and on all other televisions) so that I could and do turn the television off at the wall whenever it is not being used. I also greatly improved the smoke detectors throughout my home and replaced the single fire extinguisher that I used to put out the fire with 5 placed strategically around the home.

After the extinguisher ran out I went to use a garden hose but that was not long enough. I upgraded all the hoses so that this would not be a problem again.

Although my wife alerted us to the fire early enough that the insulation in our ceiling did not catch fire I removed the combustible material from the entire roof space and replaced it with rock wool which will not spread a fire.

All these decisions were based on the lessons learned from the experience so that the chances of a re-occurrence are reduced.

While I expect a lot will come out of the Royal Commission, but the question is what will be different from the one after the Black Saturday fires. Here many recommendations lie ignored or discarded after failure of implementation, most notably the planned burning (hazard reduction) targets and property buyback schemes recommended.

Ever the optimist, I am hoping that it does mean that we take the opportunity to look at what we can do to minimise the risk to life (human and animal) and property moving forward and when future bush fires occur how best to control them and keep fire fighters safe.

On top of all of this, I would like to see the NSW Government in particular wake up to themselves about the folly of funding the rural fire brigade through taxes on general insurance. Over and over again we have heard the priority is on protecting people. All in the community benefit from well equipped and trained emergency services personnel and all in the community need to contribute fairly to this.

As an aside I see the WA government is being criticized for emergency services funding going into purchasing art work.

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