Twin Threats

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 08:49
ThreadID: 65905 Views:2488 Replies:6 FollowUps:22
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This morning (wed 11) we got up very early and left Melbourne to drive 150km to meet some people who are simply livid at the extra burden being placed on them by police roadblocks just north of the Yea-Murrindindi fire area.

To set the scene, the devastating firestorm to the south has past and now many small communities who were not hit by it are facing the day to day uncertainty of a regular bushfire.
While constantly under smoke and occasional ember attack the areas referred to in this post are not burnt out and not even at "urgent threat level" but they are in the path of where the fires might go.

The authorities have responded by placing one way roadblocks on many main roads that are severely hampering the day to day business of locals running there farms. The area I have been directly involved in has a system so dumb that one farmer
cannot go north 1km to his second paddock to attend his animals and another could not get private firefighting equipment south past a roadblock to assist in his fire preparation.
Basically you can leave to go to a "safer" area - but you cannot go to the local shop you can almost see from your front door to get supplies and then return as you would need to pass a control point.
We called up a few locals and asked how can we help, in a surprise to us they asked for bread, and another wanted gates unlocked for horses get to water..

Just think about that statement for a few seconds - in a modern country like Australia, a combination of bureaucracy and rushed reactions has combined to put people already under severe stress, in a situation where they fear leaving there farms
to get supplies as they cannot return.

This posed an interesting access situation for us as we had no intention of running road blocks. We were however given the go-ahead to cross heavily bushed properties including cutting fences etc if necessary. We configured the patrol a bit differently for this job as we had also gone in last weekend and one vehicle had suffered a stake though a tyre in the process and winching was required. We took 2 of everything (chainsaws - fence cutting equipment - power grinder) and extra tyre repair stuff including a full size jack, as we carried no camping equipment.The forest stuff was a good 4wd drive but some surprisingly soft paddocks covered in cow dung were enough to make us ask "Is this really necessary", at one stage I even considered fitting the chains but thankfully didn't have to.

In the end our biggest danger was of getting nearly "hugged to death" by locals as we handed over the bread etc.

This stuffing around at a time of need should be un-necessary and we all should be able to do better than this.

Robin Miller
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Reply By: Mad Cowz (VIC) - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 09:03

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 09:03
Robin,
I tried to MM you but MM didn't work??????
See if the farmer might be able to call the Vic Farmers Federation, they are putting significant effort into the fire situation.
The regional manager for that area should be able to be got on 03 9207 5541.
Not sure what they'd be able to do in that particular situation, The police probably aren't that concerned for the welfare of livestock unlike the farmer......

MC
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 09:13

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 09:13
Thanks Mc

I am sure the police are correctly working to there rules , but its a bit crazy - we know of a different person who left, couldn't get back in and has been consuming emergency resources and living in one of the tents while his perfectly good farm, under no direct threat, is left vacant.

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Reply By: DIO - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 09:09

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 09:09
In the event of major disasters, Police and other authorities have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the public. Road blocks, whilst exceedingly inconvenient to some are put in place to prevent further injuries or deaths. Furthermore, emergency vehicles, cleanup vehicles and others might be working in selected areas and do not want to have to contend with unecessary traffic or 'visitors' just in for a look.
As this series of fires has resulted in many deaths, authorities will have taken extra precautions (after the main event) to ensure that there are no further fatalities etc. As difficult as it is to understand, you must also realise that in many areas Crime Scenes may still exist and there is an overwhelming need to protect evidence etc. In fact, in some cases bodies may still be awaiting recovery.
In cases where there is a justifiable need to access areas, and there exists a low risk, due consideration should be given, however in doing so it creates a precedent for others to also want to enter and all it takes is one accident, injury or death as a result and the public will come down on the authorities 'like a ton of bricks'.
If you are being prevented from entering an area by Police, request the officer present to check with his/her superiors and if refual is still the issue, request the name of the superior(s) so that you can take the matter further. In some cases decisions to prevent entry are being made by peiople far removed from the respective areas who may not have the best possible information to hand.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 09:25

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 09:25
Hi Dio

In many places roadblocks are required, respected and observed.

In the precise situation I refer to there is no direct threat.

The police roadblocks are directly aggravating the problem and causing undue stress.

Your advice to check with there superiors is appreciated.
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Follow Up By: Breakerman - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 09:25

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 09:25
DIO,
Very sensible and appropriate comment. We are involved in the Beechworth fire and our local road is closed. However, possibly because there is no suggestion of arson in this main fire, the police at the road block have been able to be very pragmatic and they have allowed friends through who quoted our name and address and indicated that they were visiting us to help out. It always amazes me just how willing some people are to whinge and criticize.
Breakerman.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 09:26

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 09:26
Unfortunately, there is also a need to control/ monitor movement because of looting and the identification strategy that is being used to try to identify arsonists. It must be very difficult when police /emergency services are stretched to their current level (and of necessity, many blocks wont be maintained by locals, to keep a balance between all the conflicting needs. Perhaps a strategy for doing this needs to have been established and understood by all parties, long before the event took place.
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Reply By: Dunco (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 17:30

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 17:30
You can please some of the people some of the time

Some of the people all of the time and

All of the people some of the time, but you can NEVER please all of the people all of the time.

Stop whining ...there is a lot to do down there with safety and of course it isa Crime scene. Do you want people wandering around in there.

But of course, you know better.


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Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 17:54

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 17:54
Dunco,

I can assure you Robin is a sensible, level headed, intelligent bloke. Also quite experienced in bush travel and the bush.

If he's assessed the situation I'm prepared to accept he's probably got it right.

Unfortunately inexperienced Coppers, at times, simply follow orders which may not exactly suit the situation. Applying some common sense and making appropriate decisions is what policing should be about. That is to say balancing the needs and safety of the community.

Cheers,

Jim.

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 18:02

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 18:02
Hi Dunco

You did not read my thread - there hasn't even been a fire in the area I referred to let alone being even close to a crime scene.

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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 19:12

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 19:12
For goodness sake ! No-one is suggesting that all controls should be removed.

None of the locals will complain about controlled access with verification of why anyone is allowed in and a record kept of everyone who enters - even if they have to provide photos of themselves to be kept at the entry point.

Rule-makers like to make their job as easy as possible and low-risk as possible for them - the needs of the people being "protected" tend to get a low priority these days.

Yes, I'm a member of several emergency services in NSW for many decades, I've seen it first-hand.
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Follow Up By: Dunco (NSW) - Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:04

Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:04
All I am saying is that in this most dreadful time in Victoria, there are so many more things that we should be thinking of instead of having a bloody whinge.

For christ sake...get with the program...so many people have lost their lives, women, little kiddies....thousands of animals....and someone has to have a whinge about something.

Bloody hell !!! And I don't care how level headed this person is...there is NO NEED to complain....and there is no need to blame coppers either Jim.

Come on people...be Australian and bloody do something instead of telling us how bad others are doing things !!!



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Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:16

Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:16
Dunco,

Read Robin's original post in full.

Cheers,

Jim.

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:16

Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:16
Hi again Dunco

I think you are still missing the point , this isn't acedemic , we are right there doing things and trying to do more - what we have is a bureacracy that has been actively making things harder.

Seriously ask yourself this - I have referred below to how a local farmer with private fire fighting equipment wasn't allowed to progress to an active grass fire on his mates land.

If it was your place would you want his help ?



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Follow Up By: Dunco (NSW) - Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:30

Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:30
Listen you guys...I am not saying Robin didn't do something worthy, but why do you have to criticise those that are just trying to do the right thing...because you think you are the one that is correct....

Well, good for you Robin. Leave these people be and if you have done something for someone down there, then good on you, but I will repeat "There is NO NEED to whinge" about something.

This post should never have been sent...you should've instead wrote something positive about someone doing something.

We are always too ready to complain...same as you Jim...bagging the inexperienced coppers. Gee mate, they are only trying to do their bloody best, like everyone else down there. Leave off !!!
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:35

Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:35
Your post Dunco, is an illustration of why some don't learn from there mistakes.
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Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:39

Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:39
Dunco,

Unless people question, analsye, provide feedback, make suggestions for improvement, things may never improve. That applies to everything in life.

That is what Robin is doing.

A wise man once told me the definition of insanity is doing the same thing day after day and expecting a better outcome.

And I wasn't taking a shot at Coppers, just making the point that like all people in life, they will improve what they do with experience. "You can't put an old head on young shoulders".

Cheers,

Jim.



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Follow Up By: Dunco (NSW) - Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:49

Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:49
Are you blokes thick or something...

READ MY LIPS....Stop complaining and get and DO SOMETHING about it

This is NOT the forum to change things...it was a whinge...bottom line. Who said people won't learn by their mistakes Robin, and why is my post against this. I simply stated that you were whinging like a bloody pommie...not doing like an Aussie. Get on with it mate and stop talking about others allegedly doing something wrong in your eyes

Don't talk about others, go talk to them and and help them out if it is possible...complaining on this forum is just that..COMPLAINING !!

Bloody hell guys.....


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Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:54

Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:54
Might I ask Dunco, what do you do for a living?



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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:59

Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:59
Hi Jim

The feedback has already begun in the community I have talked about.
Yesterday the first post threat meeting was held and a motion was made to consider a sort of 2-tier CFA membership which could lessen barriers.
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Follow Up By: Dunco (NSW) - Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 12:16

Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 12:16
Robin,

That is absolutely fantastic and it is a MUST for the community to get together after such an event and work out what can be done better in the future....and THAT is what I have been talking about....the COMMUNITY should be doing things, not you whining about something on a Computer forum...sheeish mate...think about it will you !!

And it is for them....not for people who had NOTHING to do with it. There is going to be a Royal Commission and they do get to the bottom of things.

And Jim...Not here (have a guess)...but I am now retired. Debriefing of people is a must, but it must be done - by those involved - to those involved, not by us out here. I just don't like people talking about others that they know nothing about mate...You think about that. Talk is cheap....and very easy for us to do here on this forum, but it is DOING NOTHING to help those that need it.


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Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 12:27

Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 12:27
Robin,

And therein lies the rub.

Dunco (obviously a former Copper) has taken umbrage at both of questioning the actions of the Polce.

As a taxpayer I'll question the actions of any bloody public servant I like.

Cheers,

Jim.

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Follow Up By: Dunco (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 10:06

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 10:06
Yawwwwwnnnn
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Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 13:21

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 13:21
Dunco,
Can I ask a question?
Why do you frequent this forum?
You get people offside with some pretty stupid comments and continue to accuse people of whinging or whining and then when you are questioned or confronted by an argument that has merit you use your usual “Yawwwwwnnnn” comment..
If you have to comment please be constructive. I have just done a thread search of your name, and the amount of times that you have accused people of having a whinge is well just about every thread you have commented in, what gives mate?



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Follow Up By: Dunco (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 18:02

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 at 18:02
Jon,

I am entitled to an opinion just like you. An d I only tell people they are whinging when they are.

There is no need telling others about something that is wrong, although some may think it is right....and I've only done it a couple of times and all deserved it....in MY OPINION.

I do give info on other issues and obviously you have a lot of time on your hands if you can go search things on me mate. Good for you, keep it up.

Thanks for your comments


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Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 19:14

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 19:14
Surely the Police wouldn't object if the supplies were driven up to the checkpoint and the locals came down to the checkpoint to pick up the goods.
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Reply By: Crackles - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 20:19

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 20:19
Have been working inside the check points over the last few days & is certainly very frustrating for all involved. Even with the tight access at the moment, the delays & congestion on the roads while crews clear dangerous trees etc is a pain. For those just inside the checkpoints there certainly should be some arrangements for locals to come and go but can understand the authorities keeping as many out as possible until some basic services are restored & dangerous trees are removed. This will ensure the many vacant houses are protected somewhat from looters & stop rubber neckers getting in the way. If as you say this family is not in a burnt area I'd contact the local member to arrange something. They have many contacts & are very persuasive
From what I've seen you're certainly not the only one going cross country to avoid the road blocks :-)
Cheers Craig.........
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 10:26

Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 10:26
Hi Craig

Some roadblocks have now been removed in our area.

Frustrating is certainly one word for it , and differences in opinion surfaced at local CFA meeting yesterday , in our area CFA is on our side and getting a lot of support (written up as the hero's they are in Age to-day after surviving Marysville).

However bottom line seems to be that farmers and their fire fighting equipment are a nuiscance , after I posted this wednesday the private tanker I referred to went down to offer help at the active firefront to the south and was refused entry.

A main meeting theme was that after this experience the farmers
are more resolved to stay and defend as they simply can not trust that they will be let back to there farms after helping out.

Never would have thought till this week that our 4wds and GPS navigation would have been used in the way they have been and smoke certainly adds a new dimension to cross country travel.














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Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 21:34

Friday, Feb 13, 2009 at 21:34
G'day Robin,

Good on you. I might add that this whole situation seems a function of under resourcing to me. I hasten to add that this is not anyone's fault in particular it is just that a disaster is not in the ordinary and response models are just not available to deal with something on this magnitude. I am aware that all state governments have been working on this but unfortunately it is hard to resource a disaster and this cannot give the average citizen much comfort when they occur.

This means that sometimes it is necessary to take matters into your own hands.

Kind regards
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