Making plans for a quiet summer
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.