February 23

How Community Fire Tanks Can Help Your Region During Bushfire Season

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South Australian Community and Bushfire Relief 

Bushfires are inevitable across Australia. A well coordinated community response is crucial to mitigating the devastating effects that can be felt for years to come.


Access to a community fire tank can mean the difference in saving a home that would likely have been lost in the time it takes a truck to refill - a scenario Tim Harper, founder of Pioneer Water Tanks SA, knows all too well.


“Worst case I’ve ever seen is a tanker taking three and a half hours to refill - and that was one way - so they spent 7 wasted hours travelling to fill their appliance,” he says.

“The Adelaide Plains football league got involved immediately afterwards to raise funds and decided as a committee to use the money to put towards preparing for that inevitable next fire,”

The concept of a community fire tank was born out of the aftermath of the devastating Ash Wednesday fires back in 1983 - a day which saw 28 deaths in South Australia as a result of the catastrophic firestorm conditions that swept across SA and Victoria.


“Dave Sanders, the Greenhill CFS Captain at the time, came and saw me in 1989 to buy a tank – they’d been raising funds since 1983 and were ready to order their own community fire tank for Greenhill,” explains Tim.


“They were after a local tank as every time they’d had to re-fill their truck they’d had to go all the way through the smoke to Norton Summit.”


“By the time they’d gotten back to Greenhill they’d lost another one or two homes.”

Fast forward 32 years to the Pinery Bushfires in 2015: that same community fundraising spirit was evident again, stemming from days of devastation that burnt over 210,000 acres across the lower Mid-North and western Barossa Valley.


“The Adelaide Plains football league got involved immediately afterwards to raise funds and decided as a committee to use the money to put towards preparing for that inevitable next fire,” says Tim.


“They decided they would put big fire tanks around the Plains and now have seven big GT250 tanks with huge fire fittings that can fill a tanker in no time at all.”

The GT250 fire tanks (250,000L) are the ideal community resource. People can fill up the tankers with their pumps infinitely faster than trying to draw it out of the mains pipeline thanks to a special suction used in the tank.


The recent 38th anniversary of Ash Wednesday offers a timely reminder for communities to be at the ready. Tim is working closely with Alex Zimmerman, former Pinery Bushfire Government Recovery Coordinator and ex Senior Policeman, to spread the message.


“People in other regions need to realise they need storage in their district so when the fire happens they’ve got the tankers filled and can fill the fire front appliances in a fraction of the time,” says Tim.

“We’ve been out in the Adelaide Hills visiting different locations to work out the best places to put these tanks and then try and get funding.”


“Alex has further been working with local committee and council groups to put together a grant application with Minderoo (Twiggy Forrest's foundation) and they’ve since had three of the eight tanks funded.”


A community fire tank can change your communities’ bushfire response by helping protect life, livestock and property.

 

Pioneer Water Tanks SA has set a target for 100 Community Fire Tanks across SA - providing 21,600,000 litres of fire water to SA's 61 CFS Tankers to be available at the beginning of any fire.

If you’re interested in learning more about what a community fire tank can do for your region get in touch with the team at Pioneer today at 1800 344 130.

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