For the second time in as many weeks, Melbourne and parts of Victoria have experienced another earthquake and the experts are predicting further quakes over the next few days. Although yesterday’s event was similar in strength,it appeared to be of shorter duration but unnerving just the same.It has made me think about how disaster ready we really are as a community if there was a catastrophic seismic event, especially since the Black Saturday fires 6 weeks ago, when emergency services were strained and the majority of residents were unprepared.It is a scary prospect that’s for sure but certainly worthy of discussion and consultation.
Recently a friend and I discussed various incidents in which we have been in a life threatening situations or near misses. I have had my fair share of incidents which have included being stuck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean during not one but two cyclones, on a ship which almost capsized into the sea and another time when I was due to go flying with 3 friends one morning (all 4 of us were right into flying at the time and conducted joy flights for tourists down at the Gippsland Lakes). As previously arranged, the guys called in to pick me up for the flight as it was our day off but as we had all had a very late night, I decided that sleep was a better option and told them I would catch up with them later that morning.They made fun of my lack of stamina and left, happy to meet me later when we would all fly down the coast for a day out. As I lived only several hundred metres from the airfield, I listened as the plane took off and returned to sleep. Several minutes later , I was woken by the sounds of sirens whaling and emergency vehicles and immediately I thought of my friends , I don’t know why. My intuition was correct and the plane had crashed, not long after take off. One of the newer pilots to the group who was less experienced with the local terrain, clipped a power line between the mainland and Raymond Island and the plane plunged into the channel separating the two land masses. Two of the guys were seriously injured and the other escaped with minor cuts and abrasions. Only my lethargy that morning prevented me from taking that trip!
There have been many other incidents (illness excluded) including being abducted, something I rarely discuss and prefer to keep well hidden in some deep recess of my mind. It is a wonder I have made it to the age I have and I suppose everyone has their own stories to tell too. Given the regularity in which we all find ourselves exposed to life threatening situations we don’t devote much time to thinking about how we would cope in a mass disaster situation, at least I haven’t, not until now. Perhaps I am getting older and more concerned about my own and others’ mortality?