It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A time when I ask myself the haunting question: is my cancer back?
The recent fires in Adelaide have served as a grim reminder that bushfires aren’t just a concern for country residents. There are plenty of suburbs around the country which are literally a disaster waiting to happen. I recently sat down with Brian, a lifelong rural resident with exceptional acknowledge and a survivor of the tragic Black Saturday fires of 2009.
While he spoke, it became startlingly obvious that if I was ever caught in a bushfire, I’d be in serious trouble. More apparent was the fact that I probably wouldn’t be alone. There are so many aspects of bushfires that most city and suburban dwellers just aren’t aware of. So, when Brian shared his experience about escaping the Black Saturday bushfires, his life saving information prompted me to write this article in a quest to spread the word and hopefully save some lives.
Now, most of us would have heard the warnings about pre-planning and deciding whether to stay or go BEFORE a fire approaches? How many of us in the city or suburbs really take notice? I’ll admit that I’ve never really considered it. I’ve assumed those warnings are mainly for residents in fire prone areas. Naive really, because bushfires can strike anywhere.
During the conversation, I realised that my naivety would have cost my life and the lives of my family. I don’t know if you recall, but during the Black Saturday fires, people were found burned alive in their cars? What a terrifying thought and my heart goes out to their loved ones. I assumed it was because the fires surrounded them, leaving no way to escape. In reality, it may have been something very different.
Imagine a combustion heater and the way it works. Without fuel and oxygen, they just go out. Most have a lever which oxygen levels can be adjusted to reduce or increase the heat. A bushfire works exactly the same way. The more fuel and oxygen it can get, the hotter and more deadly it becomes.
Cars also need air to circulate around the engine to keep running. Without it the car ceases, just like running out of petrol. So like me, if your plan would be to wait until the last minute and jump into your car to escape an oncoming fire, you would very likely die. At some point the engine would cease and you’re brilliant escape plan would actually put you right in harms way.
Thankfully, a car can still roll if you’re on a downward slope. Brian explained that his car’s engine ceased on the way down a hill toward safety, during Black Saturday. He let the car roll and tried to restart the engine. Luckily, as he approached the base of the hill, the engine restarted. Apparently the air concentration was greater at the lower altitude, plus the distance from the fire had also increased. Without this knowledge, Brain could have very likely become trapped in his car and become another fatality.
My conversation with Brian was a massive wake up call. I hadn’t ever considered the way bushfire works or how incompatible an escape in a car would be. Despite seeing the commercials and billboards about planning for a bushfire, I’d neglected to understand the significance of the message; plan to stay or go BEFORE the fire.
Now I know why, the message really hits home. There’s no escape in a vehicle once the fire gets close. Due to the intensity of the heat, the safest option is to leave the area well and truly before a fire rips through. Your home and belongings can be replaced, but your life and that of your loved ones can’t. Please share this information in a quest to make all bushfires, fatality free.
Image via media.news.com.au
Don’t play the victim and stay in an abusive relationship, as it will only prolong the abuse. If you want things to change; you are the only one who can make it happen. Remember; don’t stay because of their promises; leave because of their actions.
Well, this is as good as it is ever going to get. There’s not going to be a magical wand to tap your partner on the head and change them over night. Yes, they maybe amazing, loving, kind and passionate when things are good, but don’t you want that all the time, not just some of the time? Do you feel that bad about yourself that you need to stay and cop that? Even if you do, you need to know that there have been countless people in your position. Some of them didn’t make it out of their relationship and suffered until the bitter end. Others took a giant leap forward and are thriving! Seriously, these are your options and you need to make a choice.
If you are searching the web for yourself or someone else, you need to know or tell your loved one… If you are ok with what’s happening; then stay. If you are not ok with that, then please take the advise of the millions of survivors out there and plan your escape. Up until now you have stayed with your abuser for a variety of reasons.
- If you are staying because you have no money; don’t
- If you are staying for the kids; don’t
- If you are staying out of fear of loosing your kids, family, home or even your life; don’t
- If you are staying because you have nowhere to go; don’t
- If you are staying because you love your partner; don’t
Regardless of what people say, love plays a big role is why people stay. You need to understand that this type of love is very unhealthy and destructive. If you stay, your partner will continue to abuse you. If you leave, they have a slim chance of changing their behaviour and seeking help themselves. Don’t stay because of their promises; leave because of their actions. Getting yourself, and children if you have them, out of this environment is the only way the abuse will stop.
There are some excellent welfare and government agencies out there that can get you on your feet. They have shelters available is you have no-where to go. Your kids will be better off out of that environment. Children will have a much greater chance of becoming abusers or being abused if they witness it and it becomes normal as they grow up. Domestic violence agencies have the law on their side and will do everything in their power to protect you and your children. Even dealing with the pain of breakup can be helped by counsellors and survivors of domestic violence. There are resources available to you, if and when you choose to use them. Join the millions of survivors and it will be the most significant step forward you have ever made!
Each state has their own domestic violence supports in place. To find a comprehensive list of state and national services head to:
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
Translating & Interpreting Service 13 14 50
National Relay Service 133 677 –
Provides service access for deaf and hearing impaired people 106 (Emergency)
For non-emergency TTY calls – 133 677
By Kim Chartres