Thursday, January 10, 2013

Almost Evacuating

Someone was knocking at my bedroom door. I flipped the lid of my laptop down and went to open it. A very excited Sophie stood outside my door.

"The fire danger is catastrophic," she said. "We saw it on the way home from the shops."

That was the first time I've ever heard of the fire danger being that high. But I didn't worry. It wouldn't really matter. I settled back down to enjoy the rest of my evening in peace.

At bedtime I headed off to say goodnight. I'd just go kiss Mum and Dad goodnight, tuck myself up in bed and snooze. That was the plan. Instead I went out to say goodnight to Dad and was greeted with an unlikely message.

"Turn off your laptop and unplug it. Get your USB sticks and Imogen's laptop ready to evacuate."

That was rather random. I hadn't quite expected that.

I promised I would do it and went to say goodnight to Mum. She kissed me and said,

"Get yourself a pair of trousers and a long sleeved shirt ready. Also pack some other clothes."

This was getting rather serious.

"Are we in danger then? Sophie said the fire danger is catastrophic."

"There are any fires near us but fires move really quickly. We have to be ready in case we have to evacuate. We would feel pretty stupid if a fire came and we hadn't bothered to get ready. Also pack up any electronics," Mum said.

"What about the cats?" I asked. "Shall I get out the carriers in case?"

"That's a good idea. Put them by the front door where we can get to them easily."

"And what about the guinea pig?"

"We'd better move her up to the house so we can get her quickly."

I headed off and found cat carriers, hunted and failed to find a box for our ancient guinea pig and helped carry her cage up to the house. Then I was sent to find Sophie and Gemma-Rose's computers and cameras. They were awake and wanted to know what was going on. Before I knew it, we were preparing the whole house to evacuate. Bags of emergency clothing, laptops and cat carriers appeared by the door.

Finally, after everything we could possibly need to evacuate was packed, I headed for bed, much later then I had expected. But there was still clothing and laptops in my bedroom to pack. I slipped everything of importance that I could find into a bag and flopped into bed.

The next day dawned cloudy and rather cool. That didn't last. By lunchtime the air was scorching and any anxious thoughts about evacuating were banished from my mind by the heat. We spent the day hiding from the heat in the coolest places we could find. Mum checked where the bush fires were every few minutes. But the hottest day this summer ended without us evacuating.

It really was rather odd. Preparing for an evacuation felt rather scary. We rushed around, half expecting to hear the hooter go and to have to run. Then we got up in the morning and nothing happened. The day ended without any problems. The worst problem we faced was staying cool. So we almost evacuated. But I'm glad that we didn't have to.

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