The other day I realized something scary. We now live in a location that can be cut off completely if there is a bushfire. The only way to get in or out of here would be by boat. We don’t happen to have a boat of our own, and the only friend we know who has one just sold it. The other half leaves in the morning for work and it is possible that he may not be able to get back here at the end of his work day. So I have been thinking that we need a plan to deal with a bushfire emergency – and I need a plan in case I am here all alone.
It’s not impossible, either. My sister almost lost her home in the bushfires over Christmas in 2005. They were visiting here when the bushfires happened – and at home by itself being fed by her partners family daily was their cat. They had to come up with a plan to retrieve the cat on the spur of the moment, and they had to enlist the help of the firefighters, who had better things to do than attempt to collect a cat from its home without even a pet carrier.
They did manage to collect the cat which was a big relief for my sister, and when they got home they saw just how lucky they had been. Within a metre of the back door, there was fire damage. The house that used to be behind them was entirely gone. Their back fence was entirely gone. She also lived somewhere that they had to evacuate people by boat. It is lucky for all involved that she was not there because she is a major drama queen at the best of times – if you put her in a life and death situation she’d fall apart completely because she does not have any resources to deal with it.
Ever since that happened, the pet carriers have never been somewhere I can’t get to them in moments, and if we have to go away the cats go to a boarding place – not just any boarding place but one which has a clear plan for dealing with any kind of emergency. It is a plan they give a copy of to people who board their cats there with emergency contact numbers, how they make decisions on whether to stay or go, the procedures they use for keeping enough food on hand to feed 20 cats for 3 months, right down to three different locations they can take all the pets to if the boarding place is at risk from fire.
After just moving house, I don’t have a lot of food in storage here. I could probably live for 2 weeks on the food in the fridge and freezer, but what if there is no power? Again the location where we live now could easily lose power for an extended amount of time if there was a bushfire.
Do you know the phone number for your insurance company and the number of your policy off the top of your head? Me either. It’s not the kind of thing I have memorized – but I have memorized the phone number of the local Chinese restaurant, and the song lyrics to many songs.. that’s not going to help me! ;) If you were away from home and something happened to your home, it is handy to have that kind of information stored somewhere.
Another thing I like about the site is that you can choose to share your plan online with other family members. Not only is this useful but it may get them thinking about creating their own emergency plan.
Consider all the people in New York after 9/11 who could not get back to their apartments – and thus their pets – for weeks. I’ve seen so many people say “I leave the toilet lid up now in case I can’t get home, so the pets can get water” but if that is your only plan for an emergency I think you’re going to find it difficult to cope in the event of an actual disaster and so will your pets. I’m going to buy one of those pet feeders where you can put a longer supply of dry cat food ASAP because pets need food as well as water!
I think it is worth considering what you’d do in the event of an emergency, and it is worth creating a plan. It is also worth regularly backing up your computer data and storing it somewhere other than your home. It is worth putting all your digital photos onto CD or DVD and sending a copy to a couple of family members. It is worth making an inventory of your books, dvd’s, and treasured items in case you ever need to replace them. You can do that photographically and I’ll write a how to on that sometime over the next few weeks.
We never like to think of what could happen but there are times that we should think about it. For those of us in Australia, now is the time to begin thinking about summer and the upcoming bushfire season. Make a plan, just in case. ;) If you never have to use it, that is fantastic – but if you do have to use it you’ll be prepared as a family.
Does your family have an emergency plan? If yes let me know in the comments.. ;)