No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services (6AR and 6IP) (Including the Fire Services, SES & VMRS) and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions

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Tyranus
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No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

Post by Tyranus » Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:12 am

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010 ... 789372.htm
abc news online wrote:A push is being made to impose a 'gawkers fine' on sightseers who hang around bushfire zones.
Yes I know that it's South Australia that's wanting to impose the fines, but you know how it is between states, WA might eventually jump on the band wagon. I suppose you'd be safe from the fine so long as you remain out of the way while gawking and obey any instructions give to you by fire services personnel.
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Re: No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

Post by yorky » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:13 pm

Personally I think its silly. Although I do see the fire officials view, people certainly get in the way and hamper efforts.

If I was to be fined because I LEGALLY parked my vehicle and LEGALLY took photos from a PUBLIC view point, I would not be a happy camper. The best I think that could be implemented is that similar to a move on notice, if a fire official tells you to leave the area and you don't, THEN go ahead and take details/inform Police. That's what sounds reasonable to me.
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Re: No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

Post by written_ficton » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:07 pm

Yes, but if your asked to leave the vicinity by either Police / Rangers / Firies or Ambulance staff then you must adhere to, if not then be fined.

Unfortunately x factor means your always going to have gawkers at any incidents especially large events such as Subiaco Oval which is unfortunately going to be in the spot light every moment.
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Re: No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

Post by rich » Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:04 pm

In my opinion you shouldnt hang around gawking taking pics of the fires and surrounds as it could lead to being accused of lighting the fire like a lot of firebugs do to get their glory of what they have just lit.

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Re: No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

Post by Zebedee » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:44 pm

written_ficton wrote:Yes, but if your asked to leave the vicinity by either Police / Rangers / Firies or Ambulance staff then you must adhere to, if not then be fined.
Are you talking here about "what is" or "what should be"?

rich wrote:In my opinion you shouldnt hang around gawking taking pics of the fires and surrounds as it could lead to being accused of lighting the fire like a lot of firebugs do to get their glory of what they have just lit.
It could - but by the same token, if you're doing nothing wrong then you shouldn't have any adverse opinions drawn against you. I'd be completely against restricting casual photography (with the usual provisos of course of "don't put yourself in danger and don't get in the way").

EDIT

As it happens, an interesting thread is in progress on the "Whirlpool" broadband forums about what rights photographers do and don't have in public and private places. One site that was linked from that thread was fairly interesting. It applies to NSW not WA, but it's still fairly informative and thought provoking.
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Re: No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

Post by newbie » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:12 pm

I think its an interesting issue because as most people here are firefighters most would naturaly feel a little uneasy about people who want to hang around a fire zone if they have nothing to do with it (I automaticly think pyro!), but then most of us also have a folder in our computers dedicated to fire photos and the gawkers are probably the ones that have taken the pictures!

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Re: No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

Post by Tyranus » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:33 pm

I think the main concern with on lookers is when they get in the way. i.e. parked on the side of narrow roads etc. The Jane Brook fire I went to last night had quite a few onlookers but they were all well clear of where we were operating and the short roadway between the paddock and the Hydrant. So by and large there was no problem with them however if 20 cars had rocked up to spectate and we'd struggled to get through to the incident or to get to the hydrant then I certainly think it would warrant the police moving them on, with a fine if it's obvious they're only there because of the fire.
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Re: No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

Post by yorky » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:40 pm

What I can picture, is a person(s) enjoying a day at the park/bush/insert area here.

A fire breaks out nearby, emergency services attend.

The person(s) stay where they are because they are not in danger, and go on relaxing.

They then (if this law was present) get a tap on the shoulder and say you are hereby fined for having your car (legally) parked at the park and being in the direct vicinity of the fire.

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Re: No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

Post by written_ficton » Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:03 pm

Are you talking here about "what is" or "what should be"?
What should be....

You are always going to get an x number of gawkers at any incident regardless. Now we can all gather that, as long as they are not in the way... however if the situation gets out of hand then fines should be issued if the onlookers don't move on. I've dealt with a few situations, where a fine or two to certain people would have helped the situation of moving everyone along...

Its a good idea, but its going to be awfully hard to act upon when your dealing with a situation as your more concerned with what your doing for that situation, not what the onlookers are doing.

Hope that is understandable
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Re: No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

Post by Zebedee » Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:29 pm

Tyranus wrote:I think the main concern with on lookers is when they get in the way. i.e. parked on the side of narrow roads etc. The Jane Brook fire I went to last night had quite a few onlookers but they were all well clear of where we were operating and the short roadway between the paddock and the Hydrant.
Yep - and the Police seem to do quite a good job of making sure that the general public don't get onto the fireground by putting in place road blocks etc.
So by and large there was no problem with them however if 20 cars had rocked up to spectate and we'd struggled to get through to the incident or to get to the hydrant then I certainly think it would warrant the police moving them on, with a fine if it's obvious they're only there because of the fire.
Yep - and that could probably be dealt with under existing laws today, I don't think that anything new would need to be brought in to support that.
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Re: No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

Post by Tyranus » Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:30 pm

yorky wrote:What I can picture, is a person(s) enjoying a day at the park/bush/insert area here.

A fire breaks out nearby, emergency services attend.

The person(s) stay where they are because they are not in danger, and go on relaxing.

They then (if this law was present) get a tap on the shoulder and say you are hereby fined for having your car (legally) parked at the park and being in the direct vicinity of the fire.

Lunacy.
Indeed Yorky which is why I'd expect (I know that's asking a lot of politicians) only people directly in the way, i.e. blocking access to get the fine. As with the fire last night and most of the other fires I've been to there's on lookers but they don't get in the way and when they start to usually they're moved along pretty quick by the driver of the pump in control of the fire, the Station Officer at the time is usually walking around to see how crews are going etc.
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Re: No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

Post by Bigfella78 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:15 pm

I think is this what they call one of those "discretionary laws" where the officer at time can choose to enforce the law if they see the need.

I think its a great idea. I was at a fire at Kenwick when I guy parked my light tanker in whilst I was setting up the hydrant. Needless to say a quick bang on the roof with my fist got him moving pretty quickly..
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Re: No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

Post by fire&rescuetraining » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:07 pm

Having had an incident recently where I was trying to get some 20 odd vehicles out of a dangerous situation at a fire that was threatening houses, we had the road blocked and the trapped vehicles had to reverse about 100m to get out of the danger zone. Those waiting further up at the road block were shouting abuse and even trying to drive through the block, thus preventing the vehicles in danger from reversing out. Small spot fires were starting around the vehicles in danger - but no matter to those still giving abuse waiting at the road block, most of whom it was later determined were people coming to look!

My point: It did not matter if there was one law or one hundred laws to deal with the situation - there was no police available at the time to enforce the law - not for three hours!

What has happened to people's common sense? Why must a simple reasonable request (in the interest of their own safety too!) be met with instant anger and abuse? Laws do not change a person's attitude!!! Perhaps education would be better?

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Re: No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

Post by gkoutlis » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:22 pm

fire&rescuetraining wrote:Having had an incident recently where I was trying to get some 20 odd vehicles out of a dangerous situation at a fire that was threatening houses, we had the road blocked and the trapped vehicles had to reverse about 100m to get out of the danger zone. Those waiting further up at the road block were shouting abuse and even trying to drive through the block, thus preventing the vehicles in danger from reversing out. Small spot fires were starting around the vehicles in danger - but no matter to those still giving abuse waiting at the road block, most of whom it was later determined were people coming to look!

My point: It did not matter if there was one law or one hundred laws to deal with the situation - there was no police available at the time to enforce the law - not for three hours!

What has happened to people's common sense? Why must a simple reasonable request (in the interest of their own safety too!) be met with instant anger and abuse? Laws do not change a person's attitude!!! Perhaps education would be better?
I'm guessing this is the incident where Kensington responded to that scrub/bush fire in Midland last week or so ago?

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Re: No 'gawking' at a fire in South Australia

Post by rambler318 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:19 pm

Yes I know that it's South Australia that's wanting to impose the fines, but you know how it is between states, WA might eventually jump on the band wagon.

We do live in a Police state so wait and it will come.

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