When smoke appears or the message gets out of a fire, we can understand your sense of urgency in getting out to help a neighbour and friend protect their crops or property. However, we do urge you not to put yourself or others at unnecessary risk on the roads. The reason I mention this is because with the last lightning storm which came through on December 6, we had to stop a cocky speeding to a fire.
I will come straight out and tell you it was not one of our locals and happened in another Shire, but it does serve as a warning for us all. On a sealed but narrow back road, we detected this farmer travelling at 141kph in his ute which had 1000 litres of water swaying side to side in the tank on the back of the tray. Put plainly, a ton of moving load, on a 21-year-old half clapped out ute, on a narrow road at 141kph! To put this into perspective, if we were to respond to a fire as police and given a priority driving approval, as trained as we have been in emergency driving and as suited as our car may be, we are restricted to 130kph or 20kph over the limit in all but imminent life threatening situations. Needless to say, this fella copped a ticket and as unhappy as he was to get it, in our view, he was an extreme danger on the road, not only to himself, but to everyone else.
The message I want to give to you, continue to help out your neighbours and friends as I know you always will, but be safe in doing so. To be honest, where it is safe and a responsible attitude is shown, a little over the limit will be tolerated. The last thing we all need is for someone, doing the wrong thing, to crash. Not only does it mean one less set of hands fighting a fire, I may mean firefighting appliances will likely be diverted from the fire to deal with cutting you or someone else out of a crashed car, letting everyone down.
On a similar note with community spirit, with Christmas approaching, there will be a number of people heading off for well-earned holidays. If you are one of the lucky ones to be doing so, let us know and let your neighbours know so that we are able to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity on your property. If you see anything suspicious, contact us and we will assist.
Lock up you property and as best as you can, secure tools, off road bikes and the like. If you have firearms on your property, I recommend you inform us when you are leaving for holidays and we are more than happy to perform patrols of your yards and roads while your away, no matter how far out of town you are.
For those still harvesting, I hope you stay safe, and to those who are finished, I hope you have had a successful season. We enjoyed catching up with a number of you at the local primary school presentation day/nights recently and were very impressed with the children’s performances.
On behalf of myself, Darryl and our families, we would like to wish you all a safe, fun and festive Christmas!
Article by Sergeant Alby Van Den Berg