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Posts Tagged ‘Fire fighters’

This is one of my favourite songs. I found the clip with the fire fighters and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to begin this. It encapsulates the heroism, the heartache, danger and loss that fire fighting and bush fires can mean. Bushfire season is now with us, as potent as Summer Love.

Every day now I hear the reports of how wonderful it is that Summer is coming… even though we are only in the early part of Spring, the temperatures are already fluctuating wildly. Yes it is wonderful and I adore the beautiful spring and summer flowers we have. The beautiful display of Jacarandas are amazing this year.

A jacaranda lined road.

After a relatively dry winter throughout most of the country, and some idiotic bureaucratic interference that has prohibited back burning and fire breaks by property holders to prevent their homes being caught up in bushfire situations, we have masses of tinder dry, bushfire fuel loads surrounding homes and properties.

The insanity of land management being taken away from property owners, which is so closely aligned to the land care Aborigines have used for hundreds of years, is not simply ludicrous, it is criminally insane.  I am all for Greening Australia, protecting our heritage and doing the right things now, but we cannot and must not put our heads in the sand and have puerile decisions made based on land management that dates back into the last century and before.

This is typical of what farmers and landholders, rural and regional, have to sit back and accept. The fuel load here is enormous. As the foliage falls and builds under the canopy at ground level, and the dried grasses mound up, the gases from the eucalyptus trees can reach combustible proportions. Flash fires can occur, lightning can strike, but you cannot prevent the thoughtlessness of people throwing lit matches or cigarettes out of car windows. More despicable are those who delight in deliberately setting fires once the conditions are at their worst.

As the temperature rises and the winds come across the super heated land, conditions for spontaneous bush fires escalate.  Add to this the intense fuel loads you see above and this is what can and does happen…..

We are very fortunate that we live in Byron Bay, in a beautiful green area, but we are still prone to the influence and devastation of bushfire. Just not to the same extent. Since last weekend there have been over thirty bush fires raging in the Blue Mountains area in New South Wales and over a hundred throughout the state. Thousands of hectares destroyed. Over a hundred homes lost, and this is just so far. There are fires raging in the deep gorges and valleys that cannot be fought. They have to burn themselves, and all the wildlife, out.

image from waterworksvalley.com – Waterworks Valley in the Blue Mountains

This is what the rural fire brigade and their cousins in the city fire departments and local volunteers have been fighting. Until the last fires are extinguished, the final devastating total will not be known. This is not the first bush fire this season.  It will not be the last.

The crime is – much of this could be avoided with common sense.

Yes, I am angry. Our fire fighters, volunteers, home and land owners, our domestic animals and wildlife, none of them should be placed in harm’s way because a small minority of bureaucratic Green terrorists think removal of fuel load is not good for the land. Perhaps THEY should be in the front line fighting the fires.

Off my Soap Box, just for a while.

Blessings to all our fire fighters, home and land owners, our animals caught in the fires unable to escape, the injured wildlife, and all those left behind to try to put everything back together again.

Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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couple in love

image courtesy of weheartit.com

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Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.”   Bruce Lee

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There are many choices throughout life, some are easy and some take a great deal of reflection.   The decision I made to become a police officer was one of the easiest I ever made. It was at a time when there was still a great deal of respect for police officers and there were few police women around.  I was determined to be a ‘real’ police officer, doing all the tasks a police man would during the course of a normal day. Not that there were many ‘normal days’. It is often very difficult for anyone to understand why I wanted to be a police officer, but the most simple explanation is that I wanted to be able to help those who were unable to help themselves, in the kind of situations where a police officer was called in.  Also, I truly believed that I was able to do something which not many people were able to, and this was by no means being derogatory towards anyone else or heaping praise on myself.  It was and still is a job where you see the worst of people and if you are fortunate, you get to see the best of people also.

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From a time long, long ago.

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That was a long time ago, but some things never change. That desire, that drive to help others remains to this day.  You find yourself in some strange and unforeseen situations because that ingrained belief still holds true.  I found myself chasing armed bank robbers dressed only in a leotard and tights (a long time ago!), tackling someone trying to evade the police in Roma Street whilst on the way home from work as burly men carefully stepped aside to allow the man to rush past, and  I also found myself  facing down a seven-foot tall angry Maori who wanted to take the heads off two teenagers with a tree branch because another young man had lost control of his car and crashed into a tree.  At the time he said someone could have been hurt – the fact was the two teenagers were in more danger than any bystander.  Then there was the bleak winter night when an elderly man tried to run across six lanes of traffic in peak hour to try to catch a bus and was hit by a car.

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I wasn’t the first on the scene yet no-one wanted to go out there to help him, lying on a wet road in dim lighting with cars whizzing past.  I don’t recall seeing the cars as I dashed out to him, I’m sure they were there, but my focus was on the man lying in the road. He was unmoving, and I had a terribly bad feeling about it. He was obviously, very seriously hurt. Someone called an ambulance, but in peak hour…..  and the police!  A blanket was passed across, but his vital signs were barely there. This was just as  the era of the fear of aids and hiv were taking hold. Neither crossed my mind despite the blood.  I simply had to help.  The ambulance arrived eventually, after he had been resuscitated, and again by the ambulance officers.   Unfortunately he didn’t survive, but I did what I could, little though that was.

.The incredible ambulance officers.
car accident scene

image courtesy of gympietimes.com.au
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A week later my son came home from school rather upset.  He had found out that day that the elderly gentleman I had tried to help was the grandfather of his best mate.  The funeral had been the day before and he had asked him where he had been. In such a simple way it illustrated how small our world is, how connected we all are, whether we know it or not.  His friend had talked about this unknown woman who had tried to help his grandfather at the accident but no-one knew who she was.  My son was shocked at hearing the news from his friend and also a little proud that it was his mother who had dashed out into the traffic that night.

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Both of my children have followed in my footsteps to some degree. Both have ensured they have current first aid training and both, at some time or another have had call to use those skills at accidents.  Another circle has been created of people who want to make a difference, to help those who cannot help themselves and, often without thought, put themselves in possible harms way.  It is something I am very proud of, that my children care about their fellow-man, or woman, despite the prevailing feeling that “you shouldn’t get involved because of possible repercussions”.  Our litigious society may regret preventing ‘good Samaritans’ one day.

.Our hard-working firefighters

firefighters at accident

image courtesy of beaumontenterprise.com

.The amazing doctors and nurses.

doctors and nurses

image courtesy of masterfile.com

.The dedicated soldiers.

soldier in afghanistan
image courtesy of kotaku.com.au

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My little tale has nothing to do with weddings, although both parties say “I do” and in that moment they are also saying that the welfare of the other is at the forefront of their mind and heart.  At that moment they are, often without really knowing it, acknowledging that at some future time, there will be other lives, lives other than their own, which they will place before their own safety trying to help them.  Parents can go to extraordinary lengths for their children time and again. Husbands and wives can find extraordinary strength and fearlessness in times of danger.  In fact, families have a tendency to extend that care to include all members of the family, not just the sons and daughters or spouse.

.Family generations.

family

image courtesy of living.msn.com
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Yet the “I do” which I refer to is the one where the ordinary, average person is saying “I do” to the acceptance of doing what may not be possible for everyone, helping in heart wrenching situations, and sometimes, although not often, putting themselves in harm’s way.  I think about the Rural Fire Service, Careflight helicopter rescue, Coastguard rescue, and so many others who put their lives on the line to help save others.  There are many others, nurses and doctors, firemen and paramedics, any recur organisation who go beyond the call of duty, to try to ensure our loved ones are returned to us. These are the ties that bind us, the circles we create which hold us together and which prompt some of us to offer to go that extra mile to ‘protect and serve’.

.The Rural Bush Fire Brigade.

bush fire fighters

image courtesy of perthnow.com.au

.RACQ Careflight Rescue chopper.

rescue helicopter

image courtesy of qt.com.au

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Two small words which can have such far-reaching consequences and yet without them these wonderful people would not be doing the jobs they have undertaken. No-one twisted their arms to do this, it has come from a deep-seated conviction that someone has to be prepared to say “the buck stops here’ and I am here to make things right.  They are the unsung heroes of our society, they have said “I do” and we are all better off for them saying this, for believing as they do.

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I am eternally grateful for their dedication, their care and the love they show to everyone who crosses their path in time of need.  Their loss is everyone’s loss.

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“The thing about a hero, is even when it doesn’t look like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, he’s going to keep digging, he’s going to keep trying to do right and make up for what’s gone before, just because that’s who he is”.   Joss Whedon

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