WARRNAMBOOL residents must be proactive and maintain fire plugs on their property to enable firefighters access to essential water supply in an emergency.
The Warrnambool City Council (WCC) and the CFA have teamed up to appeal to residents with a fire plug on or near their property to maintain the grassed area around it to help firefighters find the supply point quickly.
There are more than 2000 fire plugs in Warrnambool which firefighting vehicles connect to fire hydrants to increase pressure and deliver water via hoses to the fire.
The plugs are identified by a white post on the nearest property’s fence line or in the nature strip in newer areas, and a blue “cat’s eye” reflector on the road, both in line with the hydrant.
The plugs are located on nature strips, roads and footpaths around the city, but can become hidden or overgrown, especially at this time of year with increased spring-time growth.
Warrnambool senior station officer David Ferguson said the plugs were strategically located so there was a minimum distance to houses in any street.
“If they are too far apart we lose water pressure and volume in our hoses supplying the truck, so every fire plug counts,” he said.
“These plugs are all around the town, unobtrusive, but when we have a fire we really need them.
“We can empty the water tank on our truck within five minutes of arriving at a fire, so easy identification of the nearest one is essential.”
He said two fires in Warrnambool in August highlighted the issue — at one a plug was located within seconds by firefighters while at the other fire it took time to find a plug.
While Mr Ferguson said although the delay didn’t hinder the brigade’s attack on the fire, firefighter safety was an issue. He also urged drivers not to park over fire plugs.
WCC asset manager John Finnerty said council was responsible for plug marking and maintenance. Last year council upgraded 550 fire plugs.
“We’re hoping to do another 600 this financial year. In Warrnambool council area there is a total of 2215,” Mr Finnerty said.
He said vandalism or residents removing newer poles in nature strips was also a problem.
Mr Finnerty and Mr Ferguson asked residents to contact the council if they had noticed any damaged or missing reflectors and posts.