Photo ‘Forest Fire’ by mapichai courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net
There are times when even the most organised plans for a holiday or break can come undone unexpectedly… Melbourne and the state of Victoria (South Australia too) has been through one of the hottest weeks on record… 4 consecutive days of temperatures over 40 C .. this type of heat wave is usually followed by bushfires … and they are as we speak, in full swing across the state.
The fires this week means that our last-minute camping trip to the Grampians National Park (yup I finally agreed to go camping when a dear friend extended an invite – shock horror Princess Frenchie was going to go Camping!) has been cancelled today. ..As I write this post the whole town of Halls Gap has been ordered to evacuate…watching the destruction of National Parks and people’s homes is awful and hope a late wind change will save the town.
The best holiday plans may at times need to be altered at very short notice, wether it be a Fire or a volcano erupting in Iceland and bringing air traffic to a standstill through much of Europe..
As a traveller it is wise do some research in terms of safety and recommendations of the destination you are visiting – from a local campground to higher risks travel destinations. Keep on the look out for local conditions before heading out.
Image By Boians Cho Joo Young, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Here is a list of useful resources to arm yourself with and make your trip more enjoyable – ( in no particular order) Here are some suggestions:
This Australian government website is one of the best resources for travel safety in terms of hot spots around the world. At the Travel company I work for we base our trips on their safety warnings – If a zone or country has a do not travel we have to cancel our trips in that region or re-route them to maintain safety advice.
You can also register your travel plans so that the Australian government can know if any travellers are in an area in case of any emergencies are declared.
Emergency & Rescue within Australia:
As the name suggests a must to keep an eye on Bush fires and their seriousness especially if you intend to go camping like we were planning – I cancelled my plans based on their latest advice. Each state has their own website listed below:
Country Fire Authority – CFA (Victoria)
New South Wales Rural Fire Service
Rural Fire Service Queensland
South Australia Country Fire Services
Tasmania Fire Service
Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency
ACT Fire & Rescue Service
Surf Life Saving Australia
Surf Life Saving Australia, is another vital service offered to the beach goer. The clubs offer beach patrol mostly in Summer along hundreds of beaches across Australia. They too like the Fire service are made of volunteers which help save hundreds of lives across the country every year. See the below stats from their website, pretty impressive:
Together surf lifesavers and Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) lifeguards rescue around 12,000 people, provide emergency care to 64,000 and give safety advice to more than 900,000 others. And that’s every year.
The red and yellow of our surf lifesavers has been etched into the hearts and minds of all Australians. We watch over you.
Next time you are at the beach, watch out for us. Find the red and yellow flags and always swim between them – remember if surf lifesavers can’t see you they can’t save you.
I watched in horror on my recent trip to Venus Bay, as a gentleman who got himself in trouble in the water and had to be rescued – he was not swimming between the flags and it took some time to get the life guards’ attention. This certainly highlighted the dangers of the beach and was a reminder to be extremely vigilant… and please swim between the flags.
Surf Life saving also run Nippers, where they train young kids about water safety and rescues. We watched our friends kids do the training and it was impressive -(this is now on the to do list for my kids).
Swim between the flags
Surf Rescue Services
Nippers – great training for personal safety
Future Life Savers ?
The 911 number is deeply ingrained in most people as the number to call if you need help, however in Australia a reminder the number is ’000′ ( Triple Zero)
Other useful links around the world for Travel advice:
The UK – Foreign Travel Advice
Canada – Travel Advice
The US - Bureau of Consular Affairs
Last but not least arm yourself with good travel insurance so that you may get some assistance should you need to cancel – however please read the fine print on your policy as some of them will not cover for natural disasters.
Do you know any other good resources that you wish to share please leave a comment.