I like to think my family and I are pretty well prepared. We try to produce as much of our own food as possible, we have supplies, we have skills that are useful. Yet all this can be rendered useless without useful and current information. I hadn’t been paying much attention to the news lately, mostly due to the rubbish they keep broadcasting and my feeling that it was a waste of my time to watch. It was when I was contacted by a friend who advised me that there was a significant risk of bushfire in my region that I realised there was an issue.
Of course, there were clues; there was the smell of smoke in the air… it had be lingering for many days due to fires further into the interior of Tasmania. We had been checking the Fire Tas website every day or so, just so we were abreast of any issues. When I received the news of the fire danger, we leapt onto the Fire Tas site, to verify the location of the fire and the areas which were currently under threat. It appeared that the fire was moving across towards the east, endangering a town called Geeveston. The winds seemed to be pushing the wind to the river, which could potentially block the highway.
The highway north was our main route to civilisation, so with a high chance it would be unusable, we made plans that we would escape to the south if a getaway was required. There is very little to the south of my home… some camping grounds, some lovely scenery, and then a long stretch of water till you reach Antarctica. With this we had to make some amendments to our plans.
We have had our bug out bags prepared for some time. If we needed to go immediately, we could have left, yet as there was no immediate need to evacuate we had plenty of time to organise. We all threw a few extra clothes into each bag, as it seemed that our bug out plan would most likely entail camping until we could return home. As we would be camping, I also included tents, sleeping bags, some cases of water, food and other items (such as a gas stove and cooking equipment) that would allow us to rough it till things improved.
Then came all the things the kids decided which they couldn’t live without… we obviously have home and contents insurance, yet my kids needed to put their Playstations and Xboxes, etc. into bags… they were worried about loosing save game files. Kitty and I agreed with this inclusion, as life would be easier if they had their devices.
With all the items we needed packed away we needed to secure them. We decided that we should pack the majority of our bags in to our small car, in which Kitty and our daughter would ride. Our cat would be in the little car too. Our two sons and I would be in our large van, which would hold a few extra bags and our dogs.
With all the packing taken care of it was now a waiting game. Kitty and I are used to this… we have been through a few bushfires so we are content to wait. Our children on the other hand were restless. The kids had enough information to be worried, yet insufficient experience to know how to deal with the situation. To rectify this, Kitty and I had to show them evidence from the Tas Fire website that we were safe, that we didn’t have to evacuate yet. This was possibly they hardest part, dealing with children who wanted to leave.