Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Evacuation folder

The devastation of the fires in Victoria has really made me think about our vulnerability here. The current death toll stands at 173 with 750 houses lost. It's shocking, scary and indescribable.

Our house is on the outer suburbs of our town. While we're not surrounded by trees, the bush isn't too far away. Seeing how quickly and ferociously the fire has swept through Victoria has spurred me to think about what would happen here.

Basically our fire plan is to get out - we wouldn't want to stay with the house if at all possible. We do need to talk about what to do if we were forced to stay and where we would go if we did evacuate (in case we were separated).

I've started to make up a fire evacuation folder that could be grabbed on the way out of the door. Currently it has our insurance policies, DVDs with our digital photos, and keys to our safe. I want to include bank account, superannuation, credit card details, addresses & phone nos of loved ones. I'll have a list of stuff to grab if there is time (in order of importance).

I think I should also have an emergency box (first aid kit, torches, radio etc) & go bag with snacks, water, change of clothes etc.

Do you have something like this in place? What do you have in yours?


A Vision Splendid said...

Hi Kez,

I think all Australians are thinking through 'what if' strategies after seeing what has unfolded in victoria.

My emergecy plan is in two parts - first if we stay in the home without services such as electricity and water for an extended period and the second one is for evacuation.

It is basically documents, important numbers list (phone numbers and policy numbers) first aid/ medications, photos, food and cash.

After seeing what the Victorian families are going though, everything else we possess seems completely insignificant

Linda said...

I was checking this sort of thing last night. You will like the picture on the rfs site in NSW, I think it had wool blankets in it.

Linda said...

We have been thinking about radios, we have been listening to a station that lets you know what is going on, and you need batteries or these radios if the power goes out.


Linda said...


We have been researching these things today because early on in the fires someone told my husband I think, that perhaps no one would knock on your door and tell you to evacuate, you have to perhaps figure it out yourself. I like how these radios have torches in them etc.

Minni Mum said...

Hi Kez,
Like you I've been blown away by the situation in Victoria, more so the distress between separated family members than lost homes, so I've been thinking of doing the same sort of thing as you, most important being a list of contact numbers in case our mobile goes flat or is lost.

We aren't all *that* far from the Mt Sugarloaf area here and we have regular small fires nearby during the school holidays, and I worry sometimes what would happen if the winds suddenly blew up like they did in Vic... Sobering isn't it?

Catherine said...

I visited your blog from remote treechanger (Linda) and thought to follow it, I have seen the dreadful reports of the fires in Victoria and it is so sad to see the devastation and loss of life - what shines through is the resilience of the survivors, they don't care for their material losses in the face of the loss of life. It is a great reflection on Australia and its people. Please visit my blog when you get time. I homeschooled my boys when we lived in Africa. Great days!

The Tin House said...

Kez, in ours:

insurance policies
car rego
superannuation account numbers
bank account numbers
external hard drive with backed up system and file info
cash: $500
change of clothes

I think Linda's suggestion of wool blankets is good, although it becomes a little less portable. I'm thinking of adding towels to my list and maybe one blanket. Plus, we have two willow water containers (6-10 litres or thereabouts) that I'll fill up and have ready as well - for thirst, but also for dousing towels and blankets if necessary.

I hadn't thought of important contact numbers - because I'm so used to them being stored in my phone or my purse.

DH already has his plans set for building a fire bunker between the big concrete water tank and the bank of earth it sits behind. The lesson from Victoria is that these refuges of concrete/brick and steel saved lives. I want one!

Lisa x

The Tin House said...

I might ferret out our birth certificates, marriage certificates & immunisation stuff too as these would be such a pain to have to replace.

Lisa x

Bel said...

Food for thought there, Kez. We live in a rainforest so unless there's a dramatic change in climate, we don't face fires here.

We have an evacuation plan drawn up in case of a fire in the house though, with instructions on what to do, where to meet, etc. It's attached to the side of the fridge with the babysitter's notes and other vital info. We look at and discuss it fairly regularly with our children.

We don't have a GO bag. Here there are no fires or floods, but there are cyclones. We have chosen one room of the house to use in case of cyclone. We have our own water supply and wind-up torches all the time. Plus alternative cooking and heating. And a good supply of food. Two years ago we went through a cyclone, and it was a real eye-opener with regard to emergency preparedness.

Thanks again! x

Anonymous said...

Hi Kez,
We have a website that helps you with this. Just open an account (email me at info@axcesspoints.com and I'll give you a password to make it free). Enter your household members, and it calculates what you should keep in your emergency kit. You can upload copies of your important documents and choose who can also access them. We'll also help you figure out what to load and why. Military grade encryption makes it safe - I've got all my own data on there too.

And you can sign up for monthly family drills, weekly articles and/or daily tips.

Hope this helps!