This one thing can help firefighters in times of disaster
A FATAL unit fire in which a man, 65, died at Waterford West, near Logan, last week has prompted a reminder to residents to ensure water hydrants are visible and accessible to emergency services.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services battling to bring under control the blaze which engulfed an end unit at the complex last Monday were initially hampered in their effort locating fire hydrants.
The tragic incident was a reminder of the importance of keeping hydrants accessible at all times, QFES Toowoomba Command Acting Inspector Brad Jefs said.
"The fire hydrants are the lifeline for our firefighters as they provide the water that we use to fight fires," he said.
Act Insp. Jefs said each fire appliance had a water supply onboard which provided enough water for an initial response and to extinguish smaller blazes such as car fires.
But structure fires required a more intensive response, thereby requiring fire hydrants, he said.
"Hydrants are usually marked with a blue cats eye (on the road) which shows us there is a fire hydrant nearby," he said.
"A steel plate is usually painted yellow, and these can be found on the road or on the footpath.
"It would help the householder to ensure if there is a fire hydrant on or near their land the grass is cleared from around it and they don't plant a tree or put a garden around it."
Act Insp. Jefs said every minute was critical when responding to a structure fire and while onboard water supplies were enough to last for up to five minutes, back-up supplies were vital.
He said ensuring access to marked hydrants was as important as clear house numbering to assist with emergency responses.
"We regularly find there is turf across a fire hydrant, or (the homeowner has) put bark on top of it to make it look like a garden," he said.
"We still need the numbers on site as well (because) if we can't see the smoke or the house number, we can't be sure which house is where.
"When we arrive on site with the fire appliance, there are two crew in the back who don their breathing apparatus and take the high-pressure home from the appliance.
"In that four or five minutes, it's up to the other crew to find the hydrant and if they can't find that water, they might have to extract extra crews.
"Every second does count."