For anyone looking from the outside in at NSW Australia, yesterday appeared to be a crazy day.
For the first time since the fire warning system came in ten years ago, Sydney was under a Catastrophic Fire Warning. A State of Emergency was declared as bush fires burned and there were predicted high temperatures and winds. Hundreds of our schools were closed as a precaution. Our paid and volunteer firefighters were working hard, and emergency services were on standby, as we all watched and waited.
One of my roles as a volunteer is to monitor social media.
In doing my job, I was stunned at the number of negative comments stating that this was all being blown out of proportion. There were claims that media were sensationalising and scaremongering, and it was ridiculous, nothing was going to happen! I kept wondering if these people had a crystal ball. Did they have a view into the future, that I didn’t have? And as the day came to a close, it was easy for some to support these views, saying it was a storm in a teacup.
What I want to offer is a look at this situation with a different lens.
In the preparation for yesterday what was created was a heightened awareness and vigilance of the possibility of what could happen. A need to be responsible for ourselves and our families. The outcome was that many of us were as prepared as we could be. Bags were packed, evacuation plans discussed with families. And our State Fire Service and Rural Fire Services were ready to swing into action at a moment’s notice.
I watched fires popping up in my local area on the Fires Near Me app. However as quickly as they appeared, they disappeared, extinguished by the prompt response. It’s my belief that many people were home and we were being hyper-vigilant. Our response times were increased, and we acted quickly in reporting fires.
Our communities rallied with offers of places to stay, help to evacuate animals, and providing food, especially for our tired firefighters. We were aware of the potential for catastrophe and had realised that we could play a role in a positive outcome.
Yesterday we were given the opportunity to take part in creating a new story and many of us stepped up.
The world has an awful lot going on now. It can be very easy to be overwhelmed, and want to close your eyes and ears to what is occurring. What I want to do is challenge you to continue being a catalyst for new positive stories! As fires are still raging and decimating our country, don’t let it stop with yesterday. Continue to raise your awareness of what is occurring around you today, locally, statewide, nationally and worldwide.
It’s not always the big stuff, the little stuff matters too.
It could be globally or at a local level. As simple as in your neighbourhood, your street, your workplace or your family. Be vigilant, look for opportunities to reach out, assist and build resilience in yourself, your family and your community.
We all have something to contribute and this could be the beginning of a new global story.
For more information on preparing and keeping you and your family safe: