Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Home Front: where will you be?

It occurred to me that most of us, at least most of the people I know, spend a lot of time away from home, day-to-day. We work, study, commute. In the event if disaster, this can be quite a game-changer. Sudden, catastrophic events are usually by their very nature unpredictable. Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornado and human-acts of violence and accident could and can occur at anytime, with little or no warning. Regional seasonal risks such as hurricane or tornadoes, bushfire or floods can be planned for, and may even have sufficient notice to make where you are at its onset or alert sufficient to get home. Obviously, it's hardly an option for most of us to preemptively bug-out and go off grid, to be totally self sufficient. Certainly some people can make that step, and make it work for them, but the reality is that the rest of us need to live our lives in more mundane styles. It is however one reason my EDC is rather comprehensive, to say the least. Vast might be more accurate.

So, given that I am in a position where "heading for the hills" is not a day-to-day option (more on that later), it falls to me to be aware of my situation, and preparedness options where I am. I live in a green and rather fancy suburb, proximal to Port Phillip Bay, and a highway. Being close to the bay, flooding could be an issue if there was a spectacular tidal surge, but this Is very unlikely. I commute by train to the city, changing trains at a major hub before taking the underground city-loop. My work is just on the edge of the CBD, around the corner from the Parliament Building.

My workplace is made up of several disparate connected buildings, and I work on the fourth floor. Due to the nature of my workplace we have a variety of safety and disaster management systems in place, which is great and all, but as you might well imagine in the event of disaster, I'll want to get -home-. If the trains, and roads aren't an option, it's an 11km walk. Annoying and time consuming but totally doable to get back to Tactical Baby, her mother and my step-daughter.

My first daughter, Triceratops Girl, lives with her mother in the Dandenong Ranges foothills, which is about an hours drive from the city, a little less from home. I make that trip back and forth a couple of times a week, as part of my visiting, picking up or dropping off arrangements. As I've mentioned previously, this is a heavily forested outer suburb, and is in an area at risk from bushfire, storm damage and flooding. The CFA have a great system and fire-awareness program, and everyone living in the area is expected to have a bushfire plan. Power cuts are common up there as gum trees often drop branches in storms, or due to heat and drought stress, cutting lines. Due to the nature of the terrain, reticulated water and underground power are not available to all homes.
In between the two, are a long stretch of suburbia, some bush land, paddocked rural homesteads and mountainous foothills.

Finally there is the northern suburb my other partner lives in. As you can see this is across town and whilst no where near as far as where Triceratops Girl lives with her mum, is urban travel all the way and crosses several major freeways on the way. Being an urban environment, the route is filled with traffic, trams, and shopping strips. In the event of a wide scale emergency, it would take quite some time to make it over there I expect, something which does not fill me with joy, I can assure you.

All in all, I have a very spread out life, geographically, and the prospect of being away from my important people in the event of a catastrophe. Looming disaster I am pretty sure I can respond to for all my loved ones, and from then, regroup and make ready for what is to come.

What will you do?

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