For all the messages and calls from our family and friends who were worried about the fires, we wanted to say a massive thank you for keeping us in your thoughts. We are safe.
“Dad, I think something is burning!”
My son looked up momentarily from his program, which indicated to me this was definitely a concern for him. I took a moment from editing and began inhaling deeply to try to determine what he was smelling. OK, I’ve got it now! I could smell the familiar odor of burning wood. I reassured him that it wasn’t anything in the house and it must’ve been the neighbors with a log-fire.
Instantaneously, another thought followed; in 40degrees of Summer? Who would be lighting a fire? At this point, I noticed smoke, slowly filling the family room. This was curious as we have been here nearly a year and this wasn’t commonplace.
“Babe, what’s that smell? What’s burning?” Ruth said worriedly, as she burst in to the family room.
“Who’s burning?” our daughter followed, implying someone must be burning dinner.
By this time, the whole house was filled with smoke and the smell of burning wood and like a pack of wolves, we set about sniffing the air to decide where this threat was coming from.
I traced the smell to the front door. However, before I ventured out, we opened the living room blinds. We couldn’t see anything. This was odd because, in the past, we could see the stairs at the end of the cul-de-sac from where we lived. Slowly, I opened the door and ventured out, followed by my daughter’s boyfriend. The smoke drifted silently just above us. It was eerie! It reminded me of the Friday the 13th films and didn’t know what to expect as we climbed the stairs and headed for the main road to try and make sense of the situation.
Reaching the top of the stairs, we looked left, smoke! We looked right, smoke! One of the busiest roads in Canberra was now like a ghost street. Every so often, the headlamps of a car would break through the smoke and speed off towards the roundabout as if escaping imminent doom!
When we returned indoors and checked the app, we realised that there had been two fires, which were now under control, in neighbouring suburbs. This was to be the scene for at least two days in each of the coming weeks.
We felt ill-prepared. We began to realise that our closest relatives (Jallohs Brisbane) are still over 700 miles away. Looking at the fire warning apps, we’d have to drive through fire zones if we needed to leave our home and evacuate to a safe place.
Embrace every experience, was one of our mantras when we decided to move to Australia and this experience made us realise:
- We are alone in Canberra and need to make an effort to build more friendship networks. Who could we turn to in a crisis?
- We had no fire safety plan! At ALL! We didn’t know where to meet or who would pick the kids up if we were both at work. How long we would wait for the others before we headed to further safety. Who’s house would we meet? What if communication channels were down and our phones cant work? These questions needed answering. FAST! Over the coming days we continued to track the fires, prepare for evacuation and wrote our fire safety plan.
Everyone who has contributed or supported in someway, the emergency services, volunteers, reservists, Thank you for all your hard work and sacrifice. In times like this, it is difficult to know how you can be useful, so thank you to anyone making an effort.
And to all the families affected by this tragic event, our thoughts and prayers go out to you all.
As part of our New Year resolution, we will be going to the gym often, so when our trainers announced a special 90 minutes fundraiser class to support the amazing work of the NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades, we were happy to sign up.
Hey Orange Family!
As a team we are aiming to raise financial aid for our heroic firefighters, to provide medical supplies for affected communities and save our injured wildlife.
In collaboration with other OTF studios around the world, we are running a donation based 90-minute class on Australia Day 26/1/20 at 10:45am. Entry to this class is $30.
All proceeds will go to The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donations Fund. As much as $1 will make a significant difference!
We really appreciate your support,
THANK YOU!The OTF Gungahlin Team
You can also click on this link to support OTF getting to $5,000 (currently at $150).
If you’d like to support the animals affected by these fires, you can do so here.
Peace, Love & Happiness
The Jalloh Family