Mak­ing plans for a quiet sum­mer

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - Robyn.wil­[email protected]

Aus­tralians are a fairly prac­ti­cal bunch, by and large. While the rest of the world shud­ders and shakes about our long list of dan­ger­ous an­i­mals, our ten­dency is to shrug it off, or even make a joke out of it.

In­deed, some­times we need re­mind­ing that get­ting bit­ten on the bum by a red­back spi­der while sit­ting on the toi­let re­quires med­i­cal at­ten­tion, even if the vic­tim’s un­for­tu­nate en­counter isn’t taken too se­ri­ously.

So, as many of us be­gin our Christ­mas preparations, putting up dec­o­ra­tions and draw­ing up shop­ping lists, there will also be plenty of peo­ple around Syd­ney and the rest of the state also mak­ing preparations to pro­tect their homes from bushfire.

Cre­at­ing or main­tain­ing ex­clu­sion zones around prop­er­ties, clear­ing gut­ters of de­bris and check­ing the ef­fi­ciency of rooftop wa­ter­ing sys­tems will be sched­uled along­side find­ing time to buy Christ­mas presents and plan­ning for school hol­i­day ac­tiv­i­ties.

With un­sea­son­ably warm weather be­com­ing the norm, dis­cus­sions will also be had around the fam­ily din­ner ta­ble about es­cape plans for peo­ple and pets, when to leave and where to go.

It’s not just for those who en­joy a coun­try life­style. As the Syd­ney fires of 1994 and 1997 showed, even ur­ban ar­eas back­ing on to re­serves and na­tional park are vul­ner­a­ble.

And while we’re all dot­ting our di­aries with Christ­mas events, there will be oth­ers in vol­un­teer ser­vices such as the SES and the Ru­ral Fire Ser­vice mak­ing plans for train­ing runs and equip­ment checks in readi­ness for a long, hot sea­son.

It’s not to take the shine off the fes­tive sea­son — it’s a time to cel­e­brate — but there’s noth­ing like ex­pect­ing the best while plan­ning for the worst.

Be­cause we’re all hop­ing for a safe and un­event­ful sum­mer.

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