When Fires & Evacuation surround you, do you have a Plan? This may help!

When disasters, like wildfires, surround us, we worry. With news of friends, family, and acquaintances evacuating, we become frightened. If roads we typically travel are blocked off, we become anxious. As more and more people around you say ‘they lost everything’, things become weird.

Clearly, the specter of awakening in the middle of the night from a deep sleep, having to evacuate in your pajamas without time to clear the head, or grab the proper things CAN be alleviated by proper planning.

Here’s a Packing List for my own family of 4, plus a cat and dog:

  1. Essentials:  Water, Food, Shelter, Essential Medicines
    1. 2 bottles water, purification tablets
    2. Toiletries & toilet paper
    3. 3 layers of clothes (desert hot, Santa Cruz style, light-weight wind-rain, sunglasses and billed hat)
    4. Tent, sleeping bags
    5. ID’s (Passports, Driver’s License, Birth Certificates)
    6. Eye glasses, Sunglasses, essential medications
  2. Tools
    1. Knife, flashlight, headlamp, batteries
    2. Rope & Duct Tape
    3. Water-proof matches, fire flint, magnifying glass
    4. Paper map of area, compass
  3. Communication
    1. Hand-written list of out-of-area contacts names, phone numbers, and addresses
    2. Notebook, pencils, pens, and 1-2 LARGE markers, highlighters
    3. Whistles
    4. Walkie-Talkies with re-chargeable batteries
    5. Phone, charging cord; laptop, external hard-drives & charger
  4. Money, un-deposited checks, credit cards, Bank Account #’s, valuable jewelry
  5. printed copies of Insurance Papers
  6. Pet Carrier, collar & leashes, water container, food, chew toy
  7. Small un-replaceable Personal items

After packing, plot the route you will use from commonly occupied locations to the most likely area of safety. With foresight, you can imagine which roads might be blocked or gridlocked.

Then, meet with all family members. Discuss scenarios of evacuation beginning while all together or split apart. Agree upon a meeting location in case you are separated at the moment of a forced evacuation.

Finally, while we all hope we will not need to use our Plan. However, with essential items pre-packed within arms’ reach, you will sleep better. With a clear exit plan, you will navigate freakish uncertainty more gracefully.

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