Msg from Vic Police: Extreme weather in Vic expected Mon night & Tues. High wind & fire risk. Listen to local ABC Radio for emergency updates. Do not reply to this.
That's the SMS we received today. It was funny at work, at first only two of us got it and 4 missed out. The two that got it (me and the other guy) were quite pleased with ourselves, saying they must have sent it to us because we're worth saving. The girls said it's only because we have criminal records, and the police knew how to contact us. Then they started saying "I bet you get charged for that message. I bet it comes on your bill" Then they started receiving them, and their tune changed.
Winds are expected to hit over 150 km/h tomorrow and with fires still in progress around the state, firefighters are concerned not only the existing fires will burn out of control, but as the conditions will be similar to those on "Black Saturday" that a whole new series of fires may start.
Just when we were starting to think it was safe again.
Fire danger is measured based on a formula, which takes into account temperature, dryness, wind and various other factors. 50 is a dangerous number. 70 means there is little to no hope of fighting the fire. Two places in the state are over 300 tomorrow, and there are very few below 150. Even where my parents live, which was my evacuation point, is in the 150s.
It's been thoroughly debated though, what sort of warning to send out. "What happens if we warn everyone and nothing happens?" was the fire departments argument. That reminded me of something lecturer once said about workplace training.
"Employers often argue, what happens if we train people they and leave? I ask them, what happens if you don't train them and they stay?"
I guess it is this logic that lead to the above SMS being sent to 5,000,000 phones today. It's better to tell people and nothing happens, than it is to not warn people and a lot more lives are lost.
One of our clients are not opening their office tomorrow. I know this because they bought in all their payroll information they normally bring in on Tuesday's so that we can get their wages prepared and make sure they are paid on Wednesday. They have it all, safety, a day off and comfort in the fact they will be paid this week.
Anyway, it's just as likely nothing will happen tomorrow. It will be just another day. But I just wanted to throw out to the bloggosphere how times have changed, and for those that haven't dealt a lot with bushfires, a glimpse of what life is like from my perspective.
I'll leave you today with a story my grandfather told me on the weekend about his days as a fireman.
His firetruck wouldn't start and they were out in the bush with the fire moving towards them. Another fire brigade offered to tow them out, and so they tied the fire trucks together. They were going up the hill toward the road and the fire truck at the front was slowly, painfully making its way there. One of the firefighters in the front lost patience, took out his axe and cut the rope. The truck rolled backwards through fences and down the hill toward the river.
My grandmother heard on the car radio that they had lost contact with a Plenty fire truck, and ended up crashing the car with my mum and uncle inside.
The firefighters from my grandfathers truck all jumped in the river and survived. When the fire had passed, they walked back to the truck and it hadn't been burned at all, but around it had. They turned the keys, and the truck started.
Nobody ever admitted to being the firefighters in the other truck, even though they spoke to brigades from all over the state.
Anyway, on a more positive note I have some awards to give away sometime this week. Not only am I giving you the chance to win a reward in our little game and you stand no chance of losing anything, I'm also giving away awards. I'm so generous.
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