During our summer months bushfires are a frequent and unpredictable event that can impact anyone. The single biggest killer in such a situation is indecision.
On the 20 January, as Perth sweltered through the peak of the summer season, the staff and residents of our Parkerville home were faced with such an event. Responding to noises outside the home, staff found three of the five Rise vehicles on fire, and blocking access to the remaining two.
Faced with such a confronting situation our staff acted immediately. They calmly evacuated the 10 residents, 5 of whom use wheelchairs, out of the property and into their private vehicles, using pillows to ensure the residents were propped up and safe. They then drove the residents to a nearby location where they could safely park and reach out to colleagues within Rise.
Despite the noise and distraction of the fire trucks and choppers that were approaching the scene, the team agreed a plan with the team at Rise and took the clients safely to Helen’s Place. Here they were met by colleagues, including those who had finished work for the day but had come to assist. Together they created a makeshift dining hall and lounge in the two big meeting rooms, had food and medication delivered, and ensured the residents that required support through Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) feeding were catered for.
This swift and caring approach was supported by many volunteers, including colleagues who live in the Perth hills and were themselves getting updates regarding their own suburbs and the fire risk.
A special mention goes to Scott, Harrison, and Glenn for their leadership and dedication throughout this situation. Each of them remained with the residents, providing support and comfort, right up until the time they were each settled in their temporary homes for the night.
Thank you to every member of the team that assisted on the night and since, you are a testament to Rise and should take pride in the way you conducted yourself.