Bushfires – Equipment is not enough

I learnt a valuable lesson today, about what not to do with my roof sprinkler systerm.

1. Do not run the pumps on idle for 2 hours without turning the sprinkler valves on! I almost cooked my pumps. When my neighbour came over and put me straight, we tried the sprinklers, and they wouldn’t work – no water in the system. Luckily we managed to fix things, but if the Kangaroo Ground fire had come through just then, we’d have been toast.

2. Stop being a nice little woman and INSIST on a proper set of instructions for the running of the whole system. 

3. Do not lose your nerve. The pumps and sprinklers should NOT be turned on until you can see the whites of their eyes, flames that is.

One of the local CFA guys is coming over tomorrow morning to walk the Daughter and I through what we should be doing. Asking for expert help is something I should have done long ago. I know the theory, but theory goes out the window when you’re faced with the real thing. [I didn’t face the real thing today, just a very tense dress rehearsal, and for that I’m extremely grateful]

So there you have it. I made a whopping great mistake, but was luckier than I have any right to be. 

It’s funny, this luck thing. I never win at raffles, or lotteries or even scratchies, and think of myself as an unlucky person. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe all the little losses pay for the few big wins…like today.

Goodnight all. I’m knackered and going to bed.



About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

18 responses to “Bushfires – Equipment is not enough

  • Candy Korman

    I’m reminded of one of the first of your blog posts that I read — the one about the alpaca volcanoes. You continually give me a view of a part of the world that is so different from my own little corner.

    I hope you continue to write and that the sprinklers do their job!


    • acflory

      lol – I’m often worried my ‘aussi’ posts will be boring, precisely because my world is kind of different to those of you in the US. I’m glad I can provide a small taste of Australia. 🙂


  • EllaDee

    That near miss feeling is not a comfortable one… So long as fortune favours you when it counts. I don’t even bother buying lottery tickets.
    After today you only see the holes… the CFA guy will help you see the cheese 😉


    • acflory

      lol – I like that…’see the cheese’. 🙂 And you’re right, although I will never be completely comfortable with my ability to act properly in a fire crisis until I actually put myself to the test- just not this week I hope.


  • David Prosser (@davidmfprosser)

    Goodnight Sweetie, sleep well but most of all sleep safe. I hope the CFA men tomorrow are a great help and have you working everything perfectly though I hope you never have to test it for real.
    xxx Sending Hugs Galore xxx


  • Honie Briggs

    That’s what rehearsals are for, right? So, I’m interested in how you create a defensible space around your home to protect against wildfires. Is there a fire break? Are sprinklers your main defense? Studying different disaster mitigation techniques just now. Inquiring minds (okay, my inquiring mind) would like to know. Stay safe.


    • acflory

      Hi Honie. The defensible space directly around the house is not that big – somewhere between 10 and 15 metres. The reason is that I live in an area where you’re not allowed to cut down the gum trees.

      Inside that area I’ve landscaped so it’s mostly a rock garden – i.e. nothing to burn. Then the shutters protect the windows. What most people don’t realise is that if the glass breaks, one ember can burn a house down from the inside out.

      Finally I have the sprinklers on the ridgeline of the roof and all around the eaves. -smile- And the wine cellar if all else fails.

      I’ll try an take a picture showing the shutters down, etc.


  • josh

    Good thing you made the mistake during a dress rehearsal…that’s why dress rehearsals exist!


  • Yvonne Hertzberger

    Yes, you were lucky. And it never pays to be a ‘nice little woman’. I’ve learned that one, too. I’m glad all turned out well.:)


  • Catherine

    Phew!!!… sleep tight vegemite. xxx


  • metan

    A very good thing to find out before the event!

    Hopefully we make it through another summer without having to find out if our plans are the right ones.


    • acflory

      It’s 4am and I’ve been awake for an hour since power failure >> fan stopped >> hot hot hot.

      I’m really glad I didn’t have to learn the hard way yesterday. Roll on the cool change.


      • metan

        It’s horrible isn’t it. I was up at 3am with Number 2 “it’s too hot, I can’t sleep”. A one room AC here that we don’t like running through the night, once I turned it off to go to bed the house just fried.
        😦 bring on the cool change indeed. No lightning though please.


        • acflory

          I turn the aircon off at night too. Apart from anything else, it can’t cope after a day of sustained heat. Went to sleep with windows open and a fan pointed at my face. Woke up at 3 coz the fan was off – power outage. Then couldn’t get back to sleep until dawn. I guess we just have to grin and bear it.


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