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Was It Enough?

Are They Going To Be Safe?

She hated days like this. A hot, blustery northerly wind, temperature more uncomfortable than it needed to be. It reminded her of the days leading up to Black Saturday – Australia’s worst bushfire. She had never known fear like that before. It made her very sad too, remembering what happened then. She had lost one of her dearest friends that day. Christine was trapped on the road by a fallen tree as she tried to escape. She cried as she remembered. Anyone who lived through Black Saturday will never forget it, and she guessed they would be feeling the same way as she was at that moment.

She remembered going to the local shops a couple of days later, and instead of seeing the smiling faces of people in her community, she saw sad faces, and bloodshot eyes. Some people were actually crying. Everyone had a sad story to tell. People in her community either knew someone who had lost their house, or lost their lives. It was so tragic, and she prayed that she would never again see anything like it. It was such an horrific time, and changed the lives of those involved. They would never be the same again.

Her children were affected too. Her youngest daughter’s best friend had lost her new house – house just built by that her friend’s dad and grandfather. A school close to them had been burnt down, and the children from the school had to go to school in portables in her children’s school grounds.

.

Now she was worried. Had she done enough if she needed to evacuate in a hurry? They had prepared a fire plan after Black Saturday, but she was still worried. Had she done enough? That was always on her mind. She needed to be ready to leave in a hurry, and not forget any thing especially her children! She had six, and the oldest ones were working now. Her oldest daughter was working in the City, and her oldest son had just started an apprenticeship. He would be okay, if he stayed where he was and her daughter as well. Mobile phones had made a big difference in the way they were able to talk to each other now. She was glad about that. Yep, her working children would be okay. And her high school kids were far enough away, so they wouldn’t be affected. They wouldn’t be in the line of fire. It wouldn’t go to where they were, and they had mobile phones, so she would be able to contact them if she needed to. And her two little children were at the primary school close to home, and would be evacuated if there was a fire. Okay, she felt a little better now.

Of course their dog would happily get in the car if they needed to go anywhere, and they would find their cat and take him too. But where would they go? A dog and cat can’t stay at a motel, if that’s where they needed to go in the meantime. They had no family or friends nearby who could help them. Now she was worried again. What would she do with them? She couldn’t just let them go and fend for them selves. No. She was a responsible pet owner, but now she wished she didn’t have any pets. This was something else to worry about. She wished her husband was here to help her, but he had to fly to Tasmania . The company he worked for wanted him to go there and check on a few things. He was only going to be gone for one night, but she wanted him there now. He would know what to do. She didn’t want to do it by herself.

But she had to, and she knew that she was strong, and could manage things by herself if she kept her head together. When the fires approached on Black Saturday, her husband was there, so she could count on him to do things. But now it would be all up to her. Yep. She could do it. They had learnt a lot from Black Saturday. They had a bag packed by the door with all of their important documents. The children knew from last time to quickly pack some clothes and their favourite toys. Of course she would help. The older kids had lists in their rooms of what they needed, and she would be able to collect their things too.

She hoped and prayed that it wouldn’t come to this. She listened carefully to the radio. So far so good. She thought back to Black Saturday. The fires were out of control that day, and headed their way. How terrifying that was. She had never known fear like that before. She never wanted to go through that again. The fire turned around before it reached their house. Although a lot of bush was burned that day, there was still a lot of bush in her area, and she prayed that it wouldn’t hit them like it did in Kinglake a Strathewen, and other areas. She couldn’t do much but wait and see. Her husband had phoned her and offered to come home straight away, but she said “no” that she could do this. She didn’t want him to worry. Of course she could do this! She was very scared though, but she couldn’t let her kids know that. Good old Mum. She always knew what to do, and she had to be strong for them. She would just grab her keys and take everyone in the car, pets and all.

She shouldn’t be worried like this. She was prepared to leave if they said on the radio that it was a “Code Red” day, but they hadn’t said that, so maybe nothing was going to happen. It was only that Black Saturday was a recent memory, and the fear that she experienced that day was still close. No, she would be okay. She was a strong person, and could handle it. But she was scared, so scared. Her children were depending on her. What was she thinking? They always depended on her. No. She would be okay. Why was she thinking like this? It would be okay.

She had made sure there was no washing on the line, brought in the door mat – all the things they say in case of ember attacks. She couldn’t do any more. Yep, she was as prepared as she could be. She longed for winter. How she dreaded these hot days.

But wait. This was Melbourne , and weather does not stay the same for too long. She could feel a cool change coming, and was so relieved by that. Her fear was gone now – she could see that they were correct in not declaring it a Code Red day. She was worried for no reason. How silly she felt. But her fear was real then, and it served as reminder of what could happen. She was safe this time – but maybe not next time. Summer was still not over. If she survived this summer there would be another next year. Maybe they should move somewhere else and have a new beginning. She hated feeling like this.

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