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January 2013

It ain't 'alf hot mum - emergencies!

Arthur Le Feuvre, WormBoss editor
January 2013


It is with sadness and concern that we hear of the fires and devastation caused by fire in many parts of the nation. It’s of little use saying to someone that they will have worm-free pastures when there are no pastures and few sheep left.

So, all we can offer are a few tips from those involved in emergency services so you do not add to their burden, and suggest that those of you who are unaffected think about throwing a few bucks in the tin to aid those who need it.

These tips are basic—you can do a lot more. Check with your local emergency services so you can be a help and not a burden.


In fire emergencies—if advised—don’t hang around hoping. Get out and do not be a burden on the services. When clear of the site, check to see if you can be helpful—if not, keep clear.

When it’s over join the RFS, lobby for funds for them or help raise support and funds for them.

If you have a GPS, you should prepare the coordinates of a landing zone near the house for general emergencies, but most emergencies happen unexpectedly, and a good deal of them away from the main homestead. Best to be generally prepared for everything.

Most useful is about 10–20 copies of an information sheet and map, laminated, one displayed prominently at each landline phone and in each vehicle, with copies to hand to anyone who will be in a remote area of the property, especially during Big Work—mustering, harvesting, fencing, searching. Two sided is best—there’s a lot of information to store.

Information side

  • Exact address. Rural property number, correct road name, nearest road intersections to each side of your property. Distance and instructions from the nearest town. Length of driveway to homestead, whether 4WD required during certain kinds of weather.
  • Property phone number/s. A reminder to call 000 in an emergency. 000 also works from mobiles, but 112 will sometimes get through in bad coverage areas.
  • The UHF channel used on the property or area.
  • If you have a ‘homestead’ landing zone prepared, the GPS coordinates can be put here too.
  • Put in snake-bite treatment instructions (there should be a basic kit with bandaids and an elastic bandage kit in every vehicle, house and shed).

The Map

  • Show the road-access entries to the property, with correctly labelled road names and lat/long coordinates of the entrances.
  • Names or numbers of the paddocks so that people unfamiliar with the property can identify exactly where the problem is.
  • Clearly marked tracks so they know HOW to access the problem.
  • Chief locations—houses, cottages, sheds (with their purpose, e.g. machinery or chemical storage). Yards and dams should also be marked. It’s used as landmarks and fire safety information.
  • Always keep this information sheet prominently displayed at every landline phone, and in every vehicle. Hand them out to workers and friends at the start of a big workday, and always have a few spare. If there’s a big emergency (e.g. fire) on the property, have someone sit at the main entrance and hand them to emergency crews that come through.
  • If an emergency happens in a remote spot on the property, everyone should know where the GPS locator is so that it can be accessed to give new coordinates.
  • Landing zones should be flat, of course. But also check for sneaky hidden wires, hard-to-spot fences, easy road access to patient/s. It should be as debris-free as possible. Remember landing zones will need to be clearly visible to a pilot during the day, and able to be well-lit at night.


  • Go on—spend the time and money to get yourself and your staff educated in first aid. Knowing how to bandage and do correct CPR is a must for rural families.
  • Have a mobile phone or sat phone available for you and staff to put in a vehicle or motor bike when doing the ‘property rounds’ or working alone somewhere remote. Make sure you know where staff are or have a GPS trace on the vehicle.
  • Put ‘roll over’ protection on quad bikes—it’s the difference between maybe a simple broken leg or getting spinal/internal injuries and/or asphyxiated with the bike on top of you.