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Bushfires - leaving early - how much do you take with you?


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#1 solongsuckers

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:15 PM

This is my first summer living in a high bushfire risk area and with the extreme fire danger rating tomorrow, we are outta here for the day.

For anyone else in this situation, just how much stuff do you take with you???

It feels a bit silly packing up the whole car full of stuff, but then won't be so silly if we came home to no house!

DH thinks I am over reacting a little

#2 bluecupcakes

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:22 PM

I have a small box containing birth certificates, wills, photo discs etc ready to go.  Apart from that I pack a change of clothes for everyone and that's it.  When I had younger babies that needed baby food I packed some of that too.

I figure all the irreplaceable pics and important documents are the only things I need anything else I can get elsewhere if it comes to that.

#3 erindiv

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:23 PM

Truly irreplaceable stuff (photos, jewellery, mementos, heirlooms) and important documents (passports, licenses, birth certificates). Pets.

Anything else can be replaced.

#4 Rocky Raccoon

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:24 PM

This is my second summer, but my first where I've been more Bushfire aware. It's catastrophic in our area tomorrow so we're heading for my parents house in the suburbs.

In our kit I've got a hard drive packed with all digital photos and home movies on it. All the birth certificates. Some predigital photos. A couple of small, but special items from when the kids were newborns. I'll also put in our laptop and camera too, seeing as I have time to pack. It's really hard knowing what to take.

If anyone else has any suggestions I'd love to hear them. Just quietly I'm wondering why the hell we moved here and left the suburbs!! (Love where I live, just could do without the Bushfire worry)

#5 Frankly my Dear

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:25 PM

I would take all that I could possibly take. I'd spend any extra time getting any and all precious belongings to my car, especially documents, photos and laptops/hard drives, USB's and backups etc. But that's if there's an actual fire and there is a risk to my home.

If its just a high fire danger day, not sure... If I was going to work and it was far I'd probably grab my laptop and hard drive with all photos on it just to be sure.

#6 KatakaGeoGirl

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:26 PM

We just go - we'll be heading off the mountain for the day. Better to be safe than sorry. I'll leave with kids around 9.30, and come back home I'd say after 5 (will just keep an eye on things).

#7 happening

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:30 PM

Our family holiday house is in a high fire risk area -  Lorne, not far from the Otways.   My family is also on a farm near Hamilton, so I spend a fair bit of time there as well.

Mum has a fire-proof box with paperwork and photos, and a grab and go bag with water, money, mobile phone, cards etc.

The only thing you can't really ever replace is a loved one.



#8 KatakaGeoGirl

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:32 PM

ETA I always carry my backup hard drive in my bag. And everything else I need (like all photos of house goods) are permanently stored in my dropbox folder so I can access that online anywhere at any time. I'm thinking of using Dropbox more often for things like this.

#9 jayskette

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:33 PM

Did you get an evacuation warning? if not there's no need to leave. Just start packing if you are worried.

#10 happening

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:36 PM


I will always leave on days of extreme fire danger.

I remember Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday.

If you are not physically and mentally prepared to stay and defend your property, leave early.



#11 solongsuckers

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:36 PM

I have my external hard drive and will pack photo albums, documents etc. Trouble is I could pack a couple of boxes just with irreplaceable things! Mainly things to do with the kids.

QUOTE (Frankly my Dear @ 03/01/2013, 11:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would take all that I could possibly take. I'd spend any extra time getting any and all precious belongings to my car, especially documents, photos and laptops/hard drives, USB's and backups etc. But that's if there's an actual fire and there is a risk to my home.

If its just a high fire danger day, not sure... If I was going to work and it was far I'd probably grab my laptop and hard drive with all photos on it just to be sure.


The thing is on these kinds of days, they say to leave before there is a fire and not to wait until there is one. So do you risk not taking much and losing it all?

We live among hundreds of acres of bush with plenty of grassy mountains around us, I wouldn't hold out much hope for my house if a fire did start!

#12 solongsuckers

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:37 PM

QUOTE (jayskette @ 03/01/2013, 11:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Did you get an evacuation warning? if not there's no need to leave. Just start packing if you are worried.


I'm guessing you are not aware of the advice that comes along with the fire danger ratings, or that you do not live anywhere near the bush!

#13 reachforthestars

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:38 PM

If it is an extreme danger warning it is always best to leave early, either night before or morning. We always do. I pack photos, important documents, some of the kids baby stuff. That;s about it. Anything else can be replaced.

#14 solongsuckers

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:38 PM

QUOTE (happening @ 03/01/2013, 11:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I will always leave on days of extreme fire danger.

I remember Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday.

If you are not physically and mentally prepared to stay and defend your property, leave early.


Yes we are definitely leaving, we wouldn't stand a chance. Hopefully by next summer we will have the area around the house prepared enough that we could stay.

#15 KatakaGeoGirl

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:39 PM

Advice now (in VIC) is on extreme or code red days it is advisable to leave the area early if you are able:

“On a day like Friday, if a fire starts and initial attack is unsuccessful and the fire takes hold, it will be uncontrollable and fast moving. Spot fires will start that will move quickly.

What this means is that people should consider leaving high risk bushfire areas early in the day as the safest option. People should also revisit their bushfire survival plans,” he said.

Extreme says to leave early, and only consider staying if you are prepared to the highest level. I know most people won't go, but as I have 2 kids I will go even if for the main part of the day. When there are only several ways off the mountain, it can easily become a dire situation in the event of a major fire.

I didn't live here during Black Saturday (we took 2 years living interstate) but what happened hit me very hard emotionally as I know what it is like to live in a close knit community. It just isn't worth the risk and I think more people understand this now.

Edited by Katakacpk, 03 January 2013 - 10:41 PM.


#16 Another one

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:39 PM

QUOTE (Frankly my Dear @ 03/01/2013, 11:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would take all that I could possibly take. I'd spend any extra time getting any and all precious belongings to my car, especially documents, photos and laptops/hard drives, USB's and backups etc.


On Black Saturday 2009 (My third summer at the farm but the first with such widespread fire danger in Vic) DH (then the captain of our district CFA) had to sit at the station all day waiting on possible callout.  Before he left he said "Keep the blinds up a little and listen to 774, dad is here and will come tell you if there is anything to worry about, just do what he says".

Well, I was pregnant with DD and this freaked me out!  I had my little Mazda3 overflowing with so much stuff out of our house - took me about 2 hours!  DH came home that afternoon and I saw him drive past, stop and reverse back to the driveway.  He came to the back door and asked what I had done (pretty self explanatory I thought).

He was so upset with me for so many reasons but mostly:
- that I thought he would leave me in danger;
- that I would think of driving if I did see fire coming; where did I think I was going to outrun it.

He can just now see the funny side of seeing my little car bursting at the seams with stuff.

NOW, I would pack the car with the kids, a few days clothes for us all, important papers, computer and external HDD, my wedding photo off the wall if it would fit as it has our marriage certificate in it and 2 small boxes of DD/DS keepsakes.  I would also leave the night before and come to my parents place in the Melbourne suburbs.

#17 solongsuckers

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:41 PM

QUOTE (Katakacpk @ 03/01/2013, 11:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Extreme says to leave early, and only consider staying if you are prepared to the highest level. I know most people won't go, but as I have 2 kids I will go even if for the main part of the day. When there are only several ways off the mountain, it can easily become a dire situation in the event of a major fire.


Exactly. We only have one drive way out of here an no matter which way you go, you are driving through bush to get out.

Was always intending to leave.

#18 emnut

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:50 PM

QUOTE (jayskette @ 03/01/2013, 11:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Did you get an evacuation warning? if not there's no need to leave. Just start packing if you are worried.


This goes against all advice that is given to people here as far as the fire danger ratings go - the CFA advise here on code red or extreme days to leave in the morning if you are planning on going rather than waiting for something to happen then attempting to leave during an evacuation situation.  DH is a CFA volunteer & he always gets DS & I to go to a safer area through the day.

#19 Frankly my Dear

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:50 PM

QUOTE (SirDidymus @ 03/01/2013, 11:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have my external hard drive and will pack photo albums, documents etc. Trouble is I could pack a couple of boxes just with irreplaceable things! Mainly things to do with the kids.



The thing is on these kinds of days, they say to leave before there is a fire and not to wait until there is one. So do you risk not taking much and losing it all?

We live among hundreds of acres of bush with plenty of grassy mountains around us, I wouldn't hold out much hope for my house if a fire did start!


Fair enough, I don't  live in a fire zone, but if you're planning on leaving for the day, tomorrow morning, then if it were me, I'd spend the evening packing up the things that are most important to me. I couldn't imagine that given that many hours that I wouldn't try to take what I could, most importantly docs, pics, computers/hardware etc, but also some clothes, jewellery and any other important pieces and also some of the kids stuff that's important to them. I wouldn't be tying couches to my roof racks lol, but I would take the time to organise a car full of the more important things to me and my family.

Obviously if given 5 minutes warning to get out I'd haul ass outta there with only kids and what I could carry and could find in an instant.

#20 jayskette

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:51 PM

QUOTE (SirDidymus @ 03/01/2013, 11:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm guessing you are not aware of the advice that comes along with the fire danger ratings, or that you do not live anywhere near the bush!


Maybe the advice has changed... in 1991's Sydney fires we were in a bushfire prone zone with a large backyard which backs onto the bush, a whole week's worth of extreme fire danger warnings and the entire neighbourhood stay put, until the fire finally came right to our doorstep where the firies had to use our pool to fight the fire then that afternoon we received the evacuation order. We had stuff packed ready to go already but it was only that afternoon we actually left.


#21 KatakaGeoGirl

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:57 PM

QUOTE (jayskette @ 03/01/2013, 11:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Maybe the advice has changed... in 1991's Sydney fires we were in a bushfire prone zone with a large backyard which backs onto the bush, a whole week's worth of extreme fire danger warnings and the entire neighbourhood stay put, until the fire finally came right to our doorstep where the firies had to use our pool to fight the fire then that afternoon we received the evacuation order. We had stuff packed ready to go already but it was only that afternoon we actually left.


It sure has changed!

Before we lived interstate no-one really took the fire advise so seriously.  We too would have just done that, and what a lot of people did in Kinglake. I remember CFA would advise how to set up a good protection on your home, and it was expected most people would stay and fight fires. After we came back 2 years later there was a distinct difference in people's attitudes. I sat in on a CFA marketing meeting to challenge and talk about the fire advice and new marketing materials. Like me most people there had the same experiences in the past, where they were more complacent about what to do and also most would have just gone if there was a fire nearby. But the advice has changed and in general people were still confused by the advice, but more likely to move earlier before there was a fire.

I think with kids my attitude has changed even more. We just skiddoodle off for the day or most part of it. Hubby will stick around, but he's been an active member of the CFA and knows what to do, and how to fight fires.

#22 melaine

Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:58 PM

The advice has changed Jayskette, in Victoria at least. Largely as a result of Black Saturday. eta - as stated by PP.

Edited by melaine, 03 January 2013 - 10:59 PM.


#23 Expelliarmus

Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:10 PM

jayskette - tomorrow is a Catastrophic fire danger day in SA - this is a new category since 1991. Bushfire survival plans for Catastrophic days is
QUOTE
For your survival, leaving early is the only option.
Leave bush fire prone areas the night before or early in
the day
– do not just wait and see what happens.
Make a decision about when you will leave, where you
will go, how you will get there and when you will return.
Homes are not designed to withstand
fires in catastrophic conditions so you should leave early.
http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/file_system/atta...urvivalPlan.pdf (page 8)

This applies across all states and has done since summer 2009/2010.

ETA: clarify the state under Catastrophic conditions

Edited by howdo, 03 January 2013 - 11:18 PM.


#24 solongsuckers

Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:15 PM

Ours for tomorrow is extreme, which is one level before code red, which would be equivalent to your catastrophic so we aren't quite code red but the advice is still the same for extreme - get out early unless you can defend.

Most of Vic is severe for tomorrow, with central, wimmera and south west being extreme.

I really hope we don't have too many of these days this summer, I don't have enough places to spend the days!

I have already started planning the work we will be doing this winter to prepare for next summer so hopefully we will be able to stay

#25 solongsuckers

Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:24 AM

Well, I have packed as many irreplaceable things as I possibly can into a big bag, as well as a box of photos and a small basket of the kids favourite toys.

Let's hope it's all worry for nothing!




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