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REVIEW of Focus 24
Our Bushfire Emergency

We saw smoke in the distance, not unusual in an Australian summer when bushfires are expected to break out. What we didn't know until our son paid us a flying visit was that it was a big one with a 200 km perimeter, and it was out of control. It had already wiped out half a town just 20 km north of ours in a matter of minutes and was moving in our direction at an alarming rate. We were ordered to evacuate.

Our grab 'n' go bags were ready (Emergency Checklist PDF - download one!), and they were in the car within a minute. Then I considered there was enough time to pile in some spare clothes and a few other things we thought we might need. We kept an eye on the smoke which by then was blanketing the sky. Blackened embers were dropping from it - ash, leaves and even small twigs reduced to charcoal and still hot.

I had hoped to leave in daylight, but it wasn't to be - thanks to the thick smoke, sundown was early. The night drive was strange. Everyone else must have left before us because the roads were deserted as we headed for friends who had offered to put us up for the duration. That turned out to be nearly four days of worrying whether we would have a home to return to. Needless to say we made it, and were glad to have been wise before the fact rather than regretful after.

As well as this article, I would urge you to have a look at Focus 16, In Case of Emergency. Not everyone is at risk from bushfires, but too many are unprepared when their home goes up in smoke from an electrical fault or a candle left burning. As for storms and flooding, they too can hit unexpectedly. For your own safety and that of your family, you really do need to read this.

To read the complete article or download the PDF of Focus 24 click here

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