There's a fire in mountains to the west of our house. The smoke is billowing out of the canyons on the other side. It's gone from four acres on Sunday to over 300 acres this afternoon, and it's zero percent contained. With tinder dry conditions, very rugged terrain, 11 per cent humidity, and 20 mile an hour winds, it's a challenging environment to try and control the fire. Some areas west of us are under pre-evacuation advisories, but I'm praying that the extra fire crews and equipment coming in tonight will be able to get the fire under control.Three years ago we went through an evacuation because of a horrific wildfire. We were evacuated for five days and we were thankful the fire was stopped less than a mile from our house. Evacuation is not a lot of fun and is scary, but I learned about the importance of the "Go Bag." I'll share some tips to get organized in case you ever have to evacuate for any reason--hurricane, flood, tornado, fire, earthquake, etc.
Here’s a breakdown of necessities for evacuation:
· Insurance policies (house, car, life)
· Wills, trust documents (originals)
· Vehicle titles
· Real estate documents
· Birth certificates, marriage license, passports
· Pet documents
|Photo: The Sierra Vista Herald|
Brown Fire on April 14, 2014
Although some of the documents aren't irreplaceable, some are a real pain to replace and can be expensive. If you have originals of wills and trust documents, they are irreplaceable and you’ll have the expense of redoing them if they’re lost. Maintaining a good filing system where these important papers are categorized properly in file folders will make your life a lot simpler if you have to grab them and run.
- Prescription medications
- Chargers for electronics
- Cell phones
- Clothes for a few days and an extra pair of shoes
- Pet Food and Equipment
- Laptops/Flash drive
Don’t forget about any pets and their supplies. Crates, food, meds, and leashes are a must if your pets are relegated to a shelter. Keeping a plastic gallon size bag of basic toiletry items stashed can help too. A lot of financial records and personal information is stored on home computers. Don’t forget chargers for laptops and iPads. A flash drive that has your pictures or other records as a backup is a good idea if you’re unable to take computers.
We were fortunate to stay with friends while we were evacuated, so we didn't stay in a shelter like hundreds of others. If a shelter is your only option and you have a few more minutes to prepare the list below will help ease the stress:
- Bottled water for several days
- Individually packaged snacks
- Deck of cards
- Handheld video games/batteries
- First Aid kit
If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, floods, wildfires, or other natural disasters it’s well worth the time to take stock of what you need to organize to throw together a Go Bag. Advance preparation is crucial to a safe evacuation. Don’t stick your head in the sand and decide evacuation can’t ever happen. No one is exempt. Being ready and organized will help your family in a high stress and dangerous situation.