This morning I had a small grass fire on my front lawn. For me this was a very tangible reminder that you might have a plan, but fire does not.
That white and grey thing in the top right of the photo is two pieces of paper (and the shadow one is casting on the other). Everything around it burnt but not the paper. In fact that log next to it burnt, a passer by put water on it and it seemed to go out but then two minutes later it was alight again. In the mean time, while that piece of paper sat there untouched, the fire was edging ever closer to my house.
I had prepared for a house fire, you know in the kitchen or something, not a grass fire. This particular grass fire made itself even more difficult by starting around the tap, on a hot dry day, when I was at home looking after two small children and wearing thongs and highly flammable cheap shorts.
In hindsight all the decisions I made were sensible even though no fire plan could have prepared me for that exact set of circumstances. I tried calling friends or family who were close by but that wasn't working, so feeling very silly I called 000. They made it plain that I was not silly.
As I was waiting the fire kept edging closer to the house. I had just decided to put the kids in the car, and felt silly about that too, when a passer by stopped and offered help. I indicated that I didn't know what to do as I couldn't leave the kids unattended while I stepped into the middle of the fire to turn on the tap (and I wasn't leaving my children alone with someone I didn't know). It turns out she was a child care worker and she assured me that no this was not a silly thing to be concerned about.
She used a watering can I gave her, put the fire out after refilling it a few times, waited a few minutes, put out the spot fires that popped up, and then continued on her way.
She was probably gone for a further five minutes before the fire truck arrived.
It was not silly to think that I should put the kids in the car and drive up the road, it was not silly to call the fire brigade. If that woman hadn't stopped to help the fire probably would have reached the edge of my house before the fire truck came.
While all the decisions I made were sound, looking back on the situation my main takeaway is fire doesn't follow your plan. You will have to think on your feet. This is not a time for feeling silly or worrying about over reacting. When you think I should do x, y or z to keep my family safe, you are probably right, so do that.
Trust your instincts. Emergencies don't go according to plan. Keep you and your family safe.