On our way home from doing the Father’s Day rounds we stopped at the supermarket to grab some supplies for dinner. I waited in the car with the kids for the few minutes it took Thommo to get what we needed.
When he came back, the car was hesitant to start but on the 2nd or 3rd try it started. As we pulled out of the carpark Thommo commented that the car sounded funny and felt sluggish. We pulled over 100m down the road. Thommo attempted to switch the car off but the engine continued to run. As we were only 4kms from home we decided to limp the car home, if there was still an issue when we got home we could call roadside assistance.
The car continued to drive sluggishly. And again, the engine didn’t cut out when Thommo parked in our driveway. While he continued to try and sort the problem I rang roadside assistance. While on hold we both commented on the smell coming from the engine. I got out of the car intending to get the children inside.
My call to RACV was answered as I got out of the car. I stood under the carport and gave them the details. Just as I was explaining the problem smoke began pouring from underneath the car. Thommo and I looked at each other in shock before I yelled in a panic “get the kids out of the car!”.
I relayed what was happening to the RACV representative on the line. I doubt I was making much, I remember yelling about smoke and young kids being in the car. I’m sure it took less than a minute to get all 4 kids out of the car but it felt like eternity.
Once they were safely in the house, RACV advised they had someone on the way and suggested calling the fire brigade just in case. We couldn’t and hadn’t seen any flames and the smoke had started to thin out, although the foul smell definitely lingered.
Within minutes we could hear sirens, the fire brigade arrived with the RACV car hot on their heels. The fire brigade declared it safe, stating it was electrical, filled out their paperwork and were gone within 15 minutes. One of the brigade spotted the 2 big boys watching from the front door (with me) and came over to reassure them before heading on their way.
RACV disconnected the battery and finally the engine stopped. Starter motor declared burnt out. Car towed away within the hour, not looking forward to hearing what needs to be done to fix it!
Seeing plumes of smoke coming from the vehicle my children are in is definitely equal top scariest moment of my life. I am beyond thankful that the older 2 know how to unbuckle their carseats and were waiting at the car door ready to get out. I am grateful that Thommo acts FAST under pressure where I freeze. I am EXTREMELY grateful for fast response time from both the fire brigade and RACV and the kindness both showed towards our frightened big boys, helped put their minds at ease.
On a lighter note, I am grateful for my husband’s sense of priorities. Once the children and I were at a safe distance he grabbed the camera from the car, along with my shopping bag full of new clothes. Priorities. He has them right.
How do you cope in emergency situations? Are you a fast act-er or a freeze up-er? And if you’re a freeze up-er how can you change to be an act-er?