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Friday, 17 January 2020

What do you take ?
Many parts of Australia have been devastated by the worst bushfires in our country's history.  The mid to north coast of NSW suffering major fires in October and currently horrendous fires on Kangaroo Island, East Gippsland, the far south coast of NSW, Batemans Bay area as well as areas around Southern Highlands and Blue Mountains (I am sure there are many areas I have missed)

View from our living area, New years eve 5.40am first reaction OMG

We live on a small property on the far south coast of NSW and spent around 4 days on Emergency Alert level with fires raging to the north and west of us. Our biggest threat was potential ember attack and grass fire which fortunately did not happen. We have been extremely lucky with changes in wind and the tremendous efforts of all the Emergency Services. Thats not to say we didn't have a few anxious days with 2 1/2 days of total blackness with an eerie red glow, raining ash and choking smoke. 

packed and ready to go 5:00pm 4th January

The car and caravan were hooked up packed and ready to go. Our property is well prepared and we are well equipped to stay and defend unless directed otherwise.

Apart from the obvious (passports, important paper work, family photos, clothes etc) what do you take in these situations ? I have dedicated hard drives and backups of my photo collections which were also packed. During this crisis we had the luxury of time to pack and prepare many people didn't.

As a keen modeller (trains and planes) I also have a pretty extensive book collection many probably irreplaceable. In the end I decided to take my Camden locos and rolling stock, Byways of Steam 21 and Pansy the Camden tram in the event I lost the shed and had to rebuild. I also took my N gauge collection which fits in a shoebox. 

Many of the locos and rolling stock are out of production such as the Trax 20 class and Bergs 30 Tanks. The crisis flagged a couple of issues as a model railway enthusiast:

1)  How are your models stored perhaps on the layout or in draws or a dedicated case.  In a crisis can you pick them up quickly and transport them without damage. All my wagons were in a purpose built box and locos in boxes in a plastic storage draw so it was easy to grab them and put in the car.

2) Does your household insurance cover your collections such as books or your trains - are these items listed on your home contents policy ? Might be time to review

These fires moved with incredible speed and unpredictable behaviour and demonstrated that many towns that had never been threatened before were not safe such as Batlow, Eden, Mallacoota in Victoria not to mention historic villages of Cobargo and Mogo 

The fire situation may go on for months and the RFS have advised it is something we may have to live with for some time. We have learnt a lot from the experience about what we take, how we store documents and items we would take so they can be gathered quickly. A key thing is it could happen to you so be prepared.

To all the fire fighters, supporting teams, Emergency Services, volunteers from overseas and the Australian Defence Force personnel thank you for your fantastic efforts. Stay Safe.