Welcome to 2020
I hope everyone enjoyed their break and are ready for a new decade of walking. Unfortunately we are off to a difficult start with the bush fires. It is so very sad to see the devastation for both humans, wildlife and our habitat. We can’t thank our firefighters and other emergency responders enough.
Cancellation decision, timing and communication
We do not want to impose any extra burden on our emergency responders so we need to be respectful of warnings and guidance. The cancellation of a walk may need to occur at short notice, preferably no later than the night before, but sometimes it may even be necessary on the morning of walk.
Accordingly for the next couple of months it’s important you keep checking our website and your email the night before and the morning of any walk to make sure you are aware of cancelled events – cancellations of any walks will be noted on the website and meetup. We will do what we can to arrange alternatives, however safety must come first.
New air quality criteria for cancellation
As a result of the current bush fire situation, air quality conditions now also need to be considered when determining whether a walk will be cancelled, in addition to our existing severe weather criteria such as temperature above 38 degrees and fire rating of ‘severe’ or higher.
When the EPA Air Quality index is forecast to be, or is ‘very poor’ or ‘hazardous’ in the area of the walk, it will be cancelled. See our safety policy.
EPA AirWatch uses five categories (good, moderate, poor, very poor, hazardous) to describe the overall air quality at each of the monitoring sites across Victoria. We recommend you familiarise yourself with the descriptions of air quality categories and general health advice. As you can see from the category descriptions, it is not considered safe for anyone to be outside doing prolonged physical activity when the air quality is ‘very poor’ or ‘hazardous’.
EPA defined Sensitive Groups
For people in ‘sensitive groups’ (older than 65, heart and lung conditions including asthma, pregnant), it is not considered safe to be outside doing prolonged physical activity when the air quality is ‘poor’ or worse, so participation in any of our walks on those days is at your own risk when the air quality is rated as ‘poor’.
First aid kits – recommendation to carry asthma reliever, salbutamol
Per EPA and health warnings, walking in some conditions over the next few months with smoke, dust, etc may trigger asthma in those that have never previously experienced it. Any walker having trouble breathing or tightness in the chest should be notify their leader immediately.
We strongly recommend you carry salbutamol ( e.g . Ventolin, available over the counter at pharmacies) and a paper spacer (available at pharmacies). They may cost between $12-15 at Chemist Warehouse.
Emergency website and apps
We recommend that all walk participants use the VIC emergency website (VicEmergency on the App and Google Play stores) to monitor conditions near proposed walks to inform your own risk assessment of whether to participate in any of our walks.
YHA Bushwalking Victoria response
Once the fires are under control your committee will be looking at ways that we can, as a Club, contribute to the massive recovery effort that will be needed. This may include organising volunteers for track and hut repairs, donation of excess funds, and/or fees from specified activities. If you have any suggestions or want to be involved please contact me at President
Jonas Lea award
As the recipient of the 2019 award was unable to be present at the end of year function and the family would like to present the award, we have deferred the announcement until our 2020 AGM. More details coming shortly.
Clubnight for new members
Our first clubnight for 2020 is Tuesday 14 January and aims to provide an introduction to new bush walkers. Whilst the committee provides a presentation, it’s great to have some of our experienced leaders and walkers there to add some extra colour to the proceedings – we hope you can join us.
If you have any suggestions for presentations for 2020 club nights and/or suggestions please contact me at President.