What was meant to be a celebration of the year ending turned into a spectacular fire show instead here at The Glen. We were warned that a catastrophic event was going to happen, so we had measures in place to evacuate within the facility. The word came late on Monday that we may have fires coming close to the facility – they sure did!!
Residents were all relocated to the middle level of our facility by the staff that were here that day and some staff that called in to assist.
As well as the Broulee Fire Brigade attending, we also had some staff assisting to put out spot fires before the brigade arrived. These staff and the firies are certainly highly commended for putting the fires out and helping to keep our residents and staff safe during this time.
During the time the water bombing helicopter was ably assisting to put the fires out as well – the fires were on two sides of the facility and quite close to houses in nearby streets as well.
To add to the melee there was no power and phone reception was spasmodic. We did end up with a generator until we had full power once more. Luckily near Christmas the Lifestyle staff had put up some solar lights along the verandas and these provided light to see with during the nights.
Unfortunately there were some staff and resident’s families that lost their homes in other areas of Batemans Bay.
Some comments mentioned by residents:
“Felt terrified/petrified as I have never been so close to a fire before. Hated being upstairs with so many people around – it was difficult to manoeuvre my wheelie walker at times. The staff were wonderful.”
“Everything was well handled – the inconvenience of moving upstairs was tolerable – but we all came out of it okay”
“Felt safe knowing that the fires were coming, we knew we would be safe upstairs. It was a very hectic time and we were well looked after – despite having no electricity for 2 days.”
“Felt very disorientated and daunting not being in our own rooms.”
“Staff were wonderful and I don’t know how they coped with everything”.
“It was great that we didn’t have to evacuate the facility.”
“The firies saved us, along with the staff that put out fires and the water bombers – they stopped the fires from spreading.”
“Grateful for the staff assistance. Felt terrified because of the fires. It was scary with the waterbombing and the noise of the helicopters was loud – bangs when the water hit the ground.”
“I had to move downstairs with all the windows and curtains closed and didn’t see what was happening outside. It made me feel cranky, irritable and bitchy!”
“Made me feel confused and frightened – we were looked after well. But if it happened again I would feel comfortable in the knowledge of what was going on.”
“It was not as bad as being stuck in an air raid shelter in England during the war!”
“When the rains came the kangaroos came down and were jumping around in the rain near my window – there was a family of them and they looked cute.”
A new resident’s comment:
“Having to be evacuated from my own home in Moruya to my daughter’s place in Catalina, made me feel safe. But I was confused because I couldn’t see what was happening.”
Some comments made from staff:
“The noise of the helicopters must’ve brought memories back to them of what it was like and how they felt during wartime.”
“It was also mentioned that some staff were terrified during the fires and having to evacuate from their homes and going to evacuation places.”
“Staff stuck together as a team. All worked really well together, some staff found it traumatic. People with dementia coped better than cognitive residents.”
“Most staff worked together really well. Residents coped extremely well given the circumstances.”