I have mentioned previously in a post about junk mail, that leaflets, free local newspapers and free magazines along with gazillions of free shopping store catalogues regularly find their way into the BobinOz letterbox. I seriously have no idea where we get all the trees from, although, thankfully, most of this stuff is printed on recycled paper.
One such example of recycledness appeared the other day and stood out from the normal dross that finds its way into my home. It came from Brisbane City Council and was a simple, single A4 sheet designed in a striking, yet fear inducing colour of red.
It introduced me to the “Brisbane Early Warning Alert Service“.
The rather scary image at the head of this document showed thunder, lightning, a completely squashed house, which was on top of a completely squashed car, with fire (and probably brimstone, whatever that is) in the background. In the forefront, having escaped the tragedy, was a girl reading a text message.
It kind of got my attention.
To cut a long story short, (something I don’t often do) it’s a free service for which you can register online. Simply give the council your details, address, home phone and a mobile phone number, and if any adverse weather is heading your way, they’ll send you a text. They will also telephone your home with an automated message.
It seemed like a great idea to me, so I signed up. After all, Brisbane has been known to be hit by floods, bushfires, cyclones and fierce electrical storms in the past. It’s nice to get a nod when something like that is heading for your home.
So I signed up on Wednesday last week.
Fast forward to Saturday, just 3 days later, to around eight or nine o’clock in the evening. My wife was reading Elizabeth her bedtime story and as soon as she would finish, I would be going in to kiss and hug my little girl goodnight. But just before that happened, I got a text message.
“Who can that be?” I thought to myself. So I quickly read the message before making my way to my daughter’s bedroom.
My first alert
It read “QLD tsunami warning – due from 8.15 am Sunday from Point Danger to Double Island Point. To hear warning phone 1300 878 6264 or visit www.bom.gov.au/tsunami ***END***
I had several thoughts rush through my head. First, I thought it was some kind of a joke. But then I remembered that Brisbane City Council aren’t renowned for their sense of humour. Anyway, who would joke about a tsunami? Well, other than Rodney Marsh of course.
Then I thought, perhaps we get them all the time here in Australia but I never knew before, having not signed up for the alerts. No, that’s crazy.
Then I thought, my God, something’s happened.
I gave a rather subdued kiss goodnight to my little girl and then logged straight on to the news headlines on my computer. The rest, of course, you know.
In the event, Australia did not suffer the effects of the tsunami. I checked the surf cams all along the coast of Queensland and New South Wales and there was barely a ripple. These images were taken at around midday on Sunday and having checked all the images from around eight o’clock in the morning, they all looked the same. Calm.
We got off light. But the people of Chile did not. If you are in a position to help, please visit this American Red Cross page or the UK Red Cross page for various ways you can help, not just in Chile, but in Haiti and other places around the world going through a hard time right now.
Meanwhile, I got another text message this morning, again from the Early Warning Alert Service. “QLD severe weather warning: Flash flooding south East Coast district including all of Brisbane at risk later today and into Tuesday”.
So much for hot, sunny and clear blue skies.