Mind Your Own Retirement Episode 31

Today, it’s the John and Janelle show. First up, they chat with Jonathan Brown, consumer advocate at CHOICE, then Dr Kieran Kennedy and finally travel editor Leon.

Mind Your Own Retirement Episode 31

Let the friendly voice of YourLifeChoices’ latest Mind Your Own Retirement podcast get your Australia Day 2020 off to a relaxing start.

Today, it’s the John and Janelle show. First up, they chat with Jonathan Brown, consumer advocate at CHOICE. He explains how we can take charge of 2020: by getting on the front foot and demanding better prices – for everything, giving your health insurance a health check, getting your heating and cooling bills under control and even auditing your pantry – a novel but excellent idea!

If you’ve been putting off the annual visit to your GP – or maybe, like so many men, you’re not even going annually – then Dr Kieran Kennedy is just the person to boost your confidence. He lifts the lid on the other side of those often embarrassing (for us) body checks.

Finally, travel editor Leon has been on the phone checking with tourist authorities around the country to gain an understanding of what we can do next to help. It’s a long way back for so many communities and regions, but older Australians can play a pivotal role, he says.





    COMMENTS

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    26th Jan 2020
    6:14am
    Been working with a fire victim relief group - until we fell out...... now I'm biding my time until I feel like kicking in again. One suggestion is to travel, take a look around, and support the local communities by spending a bit. Another is to participate in a properly organised relief network - the one I work(ed) with was pure volunteer - no money in it except out of your pocket - if you feel like it and can afford it - there's a go, and at least you know the supplies get where they are supposed to. I've stopped donating to big groups.

    Anyway - let's see what YLC come up with re Australia Day etc... should be fun.. with the organisation, I joked that I might put up the flag on the car and incite a riot - some leapt all over me while I was out working for them in the hot sun and the admin let this build up all day .... then I was doing a video of the work, and someone took the opportunity to sideswipe me about one bit of footage just to get at me ... suggesting I was intruding when I asked people's permission before filming them... and that was after I copped flak for not helping some guy with information he never asked for, when I was compiling fire reports and keeping track of disasters.

    Three strikes... I'll bide my time until they realise how much I contribute for free.. always first to the fray - always first to cop criticism.... it's a modern disease like slagging 'angry old white men'... a national sport of the Twerp generation.
    Lookfar
    26th Jan 2020
    12:51pm
    Leon's article would not open for me, but I have a tale to share, - may require two postings..
    I have been fighting Bushfires since I was 8 yrs old, climbing the sandstone cliffs of the Hawkesbury with 30 litre back pack, and when I was in uni in the early 70's there were the Sutherland fires, so I organised a group of fellow students and we went down to help, (wetted down an old wooden hose which survived although several brick homes did not) but when the crown fire arrived, - had been doing app. 28 MPH but speeded up, we were nearly caught,- running like mad across the backing oval with flames above our heads 20 metres in front of us, and I can report that a crown fire is easily just as immense and scary as a high category cyclone, I will never forget it.
    Well time went on and I founded a land owning co-op in Bellingen, NSW, so naturally I perceived the bushfire risks so formed a sub-brigade, with a trailer and tank and pump, then a bigger truck, and then, ( I was already into Solar) I invented an electric pump Fire truck, (based on my Sutherland experiences where a number of firetrucks - and their crew were caught and destroyed by fire).
    The local bushfire Fire Control Officer, Col Fitsgerald, (Fitsy) was very enthusiastic, so we went ahead
    This entailed replacing the diesel pump with a 240 volt electric pump with similar output, an extra battery, (but still charged by the truck's engine,) and an Inverter, to change the 12 volt DC battery to 240 volt AC.
    All of these were installed under the tray, (the inverter under the passenger seat) thus lowering the centre of gravity, whereas the diesel pump was on top of the tray, ( - in the recent fires a firie was killed by a firetruck overturning ) and the pump and inverter were tested in an oven to determine capacity to with stand heat, (60 degrees with no reduction in capacity).
    So the remodeled firetruck, a Striker, - ie first level of defence (called Mr Feeny, an old toyota Trooper) was ready in time for the Annual meeting and competition in Cairns, where all the district brigades would put in their best team to win the Trophy, - fastest deployment, etc. and Mr Feeny won easily, as no srarting and priming etc of the diesel was required, one simply picked up the nozzle and ran to the fire, and as soon as you pressed the trgger, the pump would trigger the Inverter and within half a second you would be putting out the fire, although, a harbinger of the future, some old timers muttered it was cheating, but of course not, it was just superior technology, brought from my Solar business, allowing quick, easy access to puting out the fire.
    So, where frrom there, - Mr Feeny was in high demand for burn-offs, Hazard reduction, etc, esp. for sub brigades which onl had a trailer, but also others, as the noisy diesel engine didn't ruin the ambience where crew would meet and the women would supply cups of Tea and Pikelets or whatever, and a good time would be had by all.

    What had been achieved?
    * Firstly, in regards to the Sutherland fires, when a fire overtakes you, it uses all the oxygen in the environment, so whether you have a mist defence or spray defence going or not, the diesel pump stops, - end of story, death of fire crew, - but with an electric fire pump truck it is not affected in the slightest, just keeps on pumping.
    This lack of security with fire trucks has had a major influence on bushfire fighting strategy, putting crews at risk is not just a personal matter, (ie as in war) but a huge publicity matter as it is we the people at risk, so there is a great reduction in risk taking, often necessary in fire fighting to take risks, I have twice been a whisker from death fighting bushfires, saved by fellows, so the Electric Punp fire Striker would be able to be virtually fireproofed, so burn backs in fierce terrain could be countenanced.
    * Secondly, as previously indicated, an electric fire truck is Quick and easy to go, - the vehicle needs only one person, - not the second person to person the pump, so can respond instantly to an emergency call, - some camper did something stupid etc, so the average 15 minutes to get crew ready and go is saved, and what could be a monster fire is expunged in the nick of time.
    * Thirdly, as a result of having powerful (and cheap) 240 volt technology on board, another problem is addressed, - when a fire truck has expended it's water, (and Strikers can not carry much, needing to be quick and manouverable) it has to go away from the fire to find more water, - from a creek or such, and bush roads ofen cross creeks, but the problem is getting down to it as the diesel pump can not suck up very far, and is very inefficient, so time being of the essence the way to go is to use a 240 volt Cellar De-watering Pump. - this style of pump is lowered down into a cellar, (creek :) and according to the model can pump very high heads as it is Pushing, not Sucking, the water, - and very efficient, and made to handle course material.
    This shortens the time the bush fire truck and crew is away from the fire, thus increasing it's contribution, and also easing truck to truck transfers, and the input pipe, as it is pressurised by the pump below can be collapsible light plastic pipe, can be rewound onto a small reel as soon as the pump itself is turned off, - a relay allowing all the water in the pipe to quickly return into the creek.

    There are also smaller side benefits from having a robust strong 240 volt supply on ones fire truck, - the battery is recharged driving to the creek, so the major problem is solved, and smaller power uses like mobile phones, Expresso coffee machines, radios, tv's, internet, recharging the battery powered chainsaws, and even a big 240 volt electric chainsaw when a major tree blocks the escape road, etc. - most of these devices would reduce the crew load, and, increase crew connectivity to loved ones.

    This working model was lapsed by the NSW fire department, on the grounds that it (let's cut to the truth) meant that WIMMEN could operate it, - in the old system you had a manifold with lots of valves along it, each having to open or close one or another as you required to do, - but the new system, you just pick up the nozzle and run to the fire and squeeze the trigger, God Save Us, a Girl Child could do it, sacrilege on sacrilege, - but, those old mysogenist bastards are now long dead, reality calls, the entire Australian bushfire system could be hugely improved by having every new Striker an Electric Pump Striker.
    Any details required please email me, wind@iig.com.au
    What I am doing, - being a member of the local Malanda Lions Club, I have proposed we build a new working version, - not a prototype, as we will be using a local truck body, simply a statement, Look at This.
    What you, my fellow YLC members can do if you choose, please, is to share my rave, - I believe we in Malanda Lions Club wil be able to raise the money. - the Diesel pump is expensive, we won't use it, local mechanics have already offered to find a suitable working
    truck body, us old fogies include retired elctricians etc, - we can make a dfference, firstly with the functioning unit, to help the national effort, second the working example (s if you want to organise one locally, - no patent,)

    Let's allow and demand our lifetimes of experience to help build a new(or at least livable) tomorrow, - or at least save our today.
    Cheers, Geoff.
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2020
    1:03pm
    Absolutely correct about the aspirated engines stopping... that includes cars etc, diesel petrol... all, once the fire sucks away the oxygen they need to run... That's one clear reason people are told to get out early... a big fire will take away all of that major component of your fuel mixture... and your car stops right where you least want it to. So stay or go...
    Paddington
    26th Jan 2020
    10:31am
    I think the best thing most of us can do is holiday in the areas instead of heading overseas. We cannot afford overseas holidays anyway. We drive to family in Canberra so can easily manage stops in the areas that have been affected. Just checking which roads are open so we can access the holiday places in Victoria.
    Agnes
    26th Jan 2020
    10:44am
    Agreed. I go overseas every year often 2-3 times, but in view the recent holiday in Aussie campaign, am presently arranging trips in Victoria, to Country Towns I have never visited, but which have been affected by this bushfire season. Also planning to use trains (which I enjoy) rather than drive, as I particularly enjoy that style of travel, and that will provide a bit of stimulus for these services. We clearly need to get out to these areas, and help stimulate their local economy, however we can, and in whichever way is affordable to us.
    Lookfar
    26th Jan 2020
    12:12pm
    Leon's article would not open for me, but I have a tale to share, - may require two postings..
    I have been fighting Bushfires since I was 8 yrs old, climbing the sandstone cliffs of the Hawkesbury with 30 litre back pack, and when I was in uni in the early 70's there were the Sutherland fires, so I organised a group of fellow students and we went down to help, (wetted down an old wooden hose which survived although several brick homes did not) but when the crown fire arrived, - had been doing app. 28 MPH but speeded up, we were nearly caught,- running like mad across the backing oval with flames above our heads 20 metres in front of us, and I can report that a crown fire is easily just as immense and scary as a high category cyclone, I will never forget it.
    Well time went on and I founded a land owning co-op in Bellingen, NSW, so naturally I perceived the bushfire risks so formed a sub-brigade, with a trailer and tank and pump, then a bigger truck, and then, ( I was already into Solar) I invented an electric pump Fire truck, (based on my Sutherland experiences where a number of firetrucks - and their crew were caught and destroyed by fire).
    The local bushfire Fire Control Officer, Col Fitsgerald, (Fitsy) was very enthusiastic, so we went ahead
    This entailed replacing the diesel pump with a 240 volt electric pump with similar output, an extra battery, (but still charged by the truck's engine,) and an Inverter, to change the 12 volt DC battery to 240 volt AC.
    All of these were installed under the tray, (the inverter under the passenger seat) thus lowering the centre of gravity, whereas the diesel pump was on top of the tray, ( - in the recent fires a firie was killed by a firetruck overturning ) and the pump and inverter were tested in an oven to determine capacity to with stand heat, (60 degrees with no reduction in capacity).
    So the remodeled firetruck, a Striker, - ie first level of defence (called Mr Feeny, an old toyota Trooper) was ready in time for the Annual meeting and competition in Cairns, where all the district brigades would put in their best team to win the Trophy, - fastest deployment, etc. and Mr Feeny won easily, as no srarting and priming etc of the diesel was required, one simply picked up the nozzle and ran to the fire, and as soon as you pressed the trgger, the pump would trigger the Inverter and within half a second you would be putting out the fire, although, a harbinger of the future, some old timers muttered it was cheating, but of course not, it was just superior technology, brought from my Solar business, allowing quick, easy access to puting out the fire.
    So, where frrom there, - Mr Feeny was in high demand for burn-offs, Hazard reduction, etc, esp. for sub brigades which onl had a trailer, but also others, as the noisy diesel engine didn't ruin the ambience where crew would meet and the women would supply cups of Tea and Pikelets or whatever, and a good time would be had by all.

    What had been achieved?
    * Firstly, in regards to the Sutherland fires, when a fire overtakes you, it uses all the oxygen in the environment, so whether you have a mist defence or spray defence going or not, the diesel pump stops, - end of story, death of fire crew, - but with an electric fire pump truck it is not affected in the slightest, just keeps on pumping.
    This lack of security with fire trucks has had a major influence on bushfire fighting strategy, putting crews at risk is not just a personal matter, (ie as in war) but a huge publicity matter as it is we the people at risk, so there is a great reduction in risk taking, often necessary in fire fighting to take risks, I have twice been a whisker from death fighting bushfires, saved by fellows, so the Electric Punp fire Striker would be able to be virtually fireproofed, so burn backs in fierce terrain could be countenanced.
    * Secondly, as previously indicated, an electric fire truck is Quick and easy to go, - the vehicle needs only one person, - not the second person to person the pump, so can respond instantly to an emergency call, - some camper did something stupid etc, so the average 15 minutes to get crew ready and go is saved, and what could be a monster fire is expunged in the nick of time.
    * Thirdly, as a result of having powerful (and cheap) 240 volt technology on board, another problem is addressed, - when a fire truck has expended it's water, (and Strikers can not carry much, needing to be quick and manouverable) it has to go away from the fire to find more water, - from a creek or such, and bush roads ofen cross creeks, but the problem is getting down to it as the diesel pump can not suck up very far, and is very inefficient, so time being of the essence the way to go is to use a 240 volt Cellar De-watering Pump. - this style of pump is lowered down into a cellar, (creek :) and according to the model can pump very high heads as it is Pushing, not Sucking, the water, - and very efficient, and made to handle course material.
    This shortens the time the bush fire truck and crew is away from the fire, thus increasing it's contribution, and also easing truck to truck transfers, and the input pipe, as it is pressurised by the pump below can be collapsible light plastic pipe, can be rewound onto a small reel as soon as the pump itself is turned off, - a relay allowing all the water in the pipe to quickly return into the creek.

    There are also smaller side benefits from having a robust strong 240 volt supply on ones fire truck, - the battery is recharged driving to the creek, so the major problem is solved, and smaller power uses like mobile phones, Expresso coffee machines, radios, tv's, internet, recharging the battery powered chainsaws, and even a big 240 volt electric chainsaw when a major tree blocks the escape road, etc. - most of these devices would reduce the crew load, and, increase crew connectivity to loved ones.

    This working model was lapsed by the NSW fire department, on the grounds that it (let's cut to the truth) meant that WIMMEN could operate it, - in the old system you had a manifold with lots of valves along it, each having to open or close one or another as you required to do, - but the new system, you just pick up the nozzle and run to the fire and squeeze the trigger, God Save Us, a Girl Child could do it, sacrilege on sacrilege, - but, those old mysogenist bastards are now long dead, reality calls, the entire Australian bushfire system could be hugely improved by having every new Striker an Electric Pump Striker.
    Any details required please email me, wind@iig.com.au
    What I am doing, - being a member of the local Malanda Lions Club, I have proposed we build a new working version, - not a prototype, as we will be using a local truck body, simply a statement, Look at This.
    What you, my fellow YLC members can do if you choose, please, is to share my rave, - I believe we in Malanda Lions Club wil be able to raise the money. - the Diesel pump is expensive, we won't use it, local mechanics have already offered to find a suitable working
    truck body, us old fogies include retired elctricians etc, - we can make a dfference, firstly with the functioning unit, to help the national effort, second the working example (s if you want to organise one locally, - no patent,)

    Let's allow and demand our lifetimes of experience to help build a new(or at least livable) tomorrow, - or at least save our today.
    Cheers, Geoff.
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2020
    1:09pm
    .. also one reason not to fly into a smoke cloud etc..... been wondering about that crash.. a fine young ABC reporter (Greta type) said that it had 'collided with terrain' - but he didn't know what that meant.... on national radio. A candid admission of the failure of the education system and the serious lacks within the journalist community - it means it hit the ground, dopey... now why? Engine failure due to lack of oxygen? Malfunctioning radar? Visibility? Perhaps the ground proximity warning system is turned off for a fire run... too annoying... but if the approach pattern is like a landing pattern that shouldn't matter, and these things take a very shallow approach .... unless there was unsighted terrain directly ahead....
    Anonymous
    26th Jan 2020
    1:16pm
    Usually there is an Airborne Incident Controller, who flies AROUND a fire zone and works out the best approaches etc.. I saw them here with the Controller (in an Aero Commander prop-jet) guiding the big 737 in.. actually leading on the best approach path... perhaps that wasn't present on this one.. got it on video...

    Now back to the subject...


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