There I was, just having made my breakfast when I get a call from Glen saying, ‘Are you OK?’
‘Yes, why shouldn’t I be?’ I replied.
I was then informed that a bushfire had broken out just a mile down the road and all the houses in the area were told to either evacuate or to get ready to defend their homes and fight the fire! I threw my porridge aside and ran about locating all our valuable possessions and discovered that we hadn’t actually got any! So I then ran about locating the 3 cats and the cat boxes and the container the owner asked us to take incase of an emergency.
Glen had taken our trusty motorhome that morning, which he uses to get him to the train station every day to get into the city, so it dawned on me I didn’t have an escape vehicle. Not good news.
The house sits on 4 acres of dry arid bushland and the temperature that day was 38 degrees. It’s an area of giant kindling waiting to ignite. I saw and heard the emergency fire helicopters hovering overhead, so I waited for a tank load of extinguisher to be dumped on my head at any moment. The odd thing was, I couldn’t actually see or smell any fire, however the cats knew something was up as they were making unsettling mewing noises. We all huddled close and waited.
We waited and waited.
I kept refreshing the http://www.emergency.wa.gov.au website for their regular bushfire updates, hoping to be informed of when I needed to jump fence and run. However the information was always the same:
• Stay alert and monitor your surroundings.
•Watch for signs of a bushfire, especially smoke and flames.
•Close all doors and windows, and turn off evaporative air conditioners but keep water running through the system if possible.
•Read through your bushfire survival plan.
•If you do not have a plan decide what you will do if the situation gets worse.
My plan was to RUN.
Glen called again and his plan was quite clear, ‘Grab all the biscuits’ he said, ‘and don’t leave any behind’. This wasn’t very helpful to me at the time, as this was obviously his most valuable possession!
It’s in times like these, when you are faced with the possibility of losing everything except the clothes you stand in, that you start asking yourself questions like; ‘What is the most valuable thing in my life?’ ‘What would happen if I lost all I own?’ ‘Who is the most valuable person in my life?’ ‘Who would be there to give me shelter and look after me?’ ‘What if I died?’ ‘What if Glen died?’ ‘What if we both died?’ Not that that would happen because Glen was probably contentedly munching on a TimTam biscuit in the city at that moment, while I was running around trying to locate my ‘Bushfire Survival Plan’.
I did survive, the bushfire subsided and the threat to homes and lives lessened.
Once I had breathed a huge sigh of relief, it gave me immense admiration for the Aussie firefighters who are out there every day locating and controlling fires all around Australia, keeping us informed and safe.
This fire experience helped me to get my life back into perspective. It made me aware of the people I love and who I needed to reach out to the most. It made me aware of what I love and what were the most important things in my life, and for me, it wasn’t a TimTam biscuit!