January is off to a dramatic start, 2nd year in a row …hope that’s not going to become habit! On Wednesday, I evacuated our house due to bushfire.
In the Perth suburbs…
I mean yeah, I’m prone to overreacting when we get a cyclone warning etc but I never really thought a bushfire would get near us. We’re in a little pocket of suburbia, bordered by a couple of major highways.
Only it would appear that there’s a fair bit of bush around the Perth airport 5mins away. Oh and that fire can jump highways… especially if the highways are bordered by other bits of bush. *facepalm*
If I hadn’t have been on social media, I’d have had absolutely no idea. It was only when I started reading about stuff going on near the airport that I found out about it. Ironically I’d only said earlier that morning that the fact we’d had a big storm overnight probably meant the ground was wet now and it’d help with the fact Perth was on high fire alert (it didn’t).
I saw an alert a little after 3 saying the flames were 12m high, all the helitacs came over about 3.30 and I started to think that maybe I should pack a bag and track down the cat, just in case. The front yard was starting to get ash flying around, Jas wasn’t home and I didn’t want to have to wait til somebody came and told me I had to leave right away… or worse. About 5pm I chose to leave as the fire had crossed to my side of the highway and was way too close for comfort. Better safe than sorry.
Puss and I just wanted to get out of the suburb for a bit. Poor little guy was hot, thirsty and distressed so when I finally got out of the heavy, heavy, heavy traffic that comes from shutting sections of 3 MAJOR arterial highways/roads I made it to the Lathlain vet who were very kind to get puss some water, check him out and clean him up a bit. Then we were very kindly taken in by one of my customers, Sarah, and her kids for a couple of hours until we could go home again.
Once again, Twitter has amazed me. I’d never actually met Sarah in person before yet she was lovely enough to take in a couple of hot, sweaty and slightly distressed strangers.
Anyway – yesterday afternoon I was unpacking all my stuff again and was a bit baffled by some of my choices. For example, I’d grabbed a heap of Jason’s Liverpool shirts (I didn’t get his favourite – oops – but he does have about 10!) but no pants or shoes. And I’d taken my wedding dress which was great for sentimental value but really, a satin and velvet medieval gown wasn’t really appropriate Australian summer clothing.
Some of the things I took, both practical, sentimental and weird –
All the Id documents, insurance stuff, marriage certificate etc – we have a fire proof safe but I still thought better to have with me.
My baby album – more for Mum than me, seeing as I have all the family photos.
My teddy bear – He’s 30. I’ve been throwing him in a bag at the first sign of danger since I was a toddler. I just like having him around.
Shampoo, conditioner, showergel, undies, and toothbrushes – The idea of having to wait on donated handouts of these just was a little too much. So I grabbed my own. I’m proud to say I thought I could live without my hair straighteners in case of emergency.
Jason’s hard-drive with all his cds etc on it. He’d be very miserable indeed without his music.
My Father in law’s ashes and some other trinkets important to Jas. I even grabbed the businesscard from the shop we first met outside.
A 9yr old picture of Jas in the outfit he was wearing when we met.
My nappy pins, baby bracelets, key to the house I grew up in, shawl my Nanna knit and some other randomly slightly sentimental things including a coin from the 1988 Bicentenniel. I have NO idea why I thought that was important if I lost everything. But I thought my sister would want the bracelets if she ever has a kid.
Hard drives, camera etc.
Wedding mementos, business registration, diploma. Wedding photos on cd.
A small metal teddy bear from the collection I look after for Mum.
Crystal camera collectable I got for my 21st.
Birthday and anniversary cards from Jas. Small framed photo of us.
I put all my special silver pendants on a chain and wore them all at once.
Mobile phone charger.
A heap of darkroom prints including (I hope) the duplicates I made of my fine art fibre based series for TAFE. Strangely, I left the negatives.
Wedding dress and a random – very random, assortment of clothes.
And I also chose to take some of my Etsy stock, my pendants and matted prints so in the very least I could sell them and get some money if the house burnt down.
I think that having done the fire moderation and reading a lot about both the Victoria fires and recent events here in WA made me more prepared than I would’ve been otherwise. I had things ready to go fairly early. I had a fairly good idea what I wanted to take although i did spend too long walking around thinking what would I want if I had nothing else. I really recommend doing that before you need to and maybe making sure it’s easily accessible when needed.
So, what would you grab if you had to leave home in an emergency, not knowing if you could go back?
P.S. Having a lot of files backed up in the cloud via Spideroak and off-site with Jas, made me feel much better. I could still get my business back up eventually.