Sunday, July 22, 2012

Evacuated - Fire Preparedness

          Thursday afternoon another fire was reported about 7 miles northeast of us.  While we could see the heavy smoke we weren't too worried.  Seven miles is a long ways away in fire distance.  Thursday night however, everything changed.  First we could see the glow from our driveway, then the flames as it licked up trees, finally we could hear the ominous roar.  I began to get nervous and asked Nathan to back up the cargo trailer to the house, just in case.  At about 11:30 pm, search and rescue pulls up to inform us that we need to evacuate. 

          Trying to decide what to save and what can be replaced is like deciding what part of your life is important.  Should I take Grandma's antique buffet or my kids' baby blankets?  I have a closet full of nice clothing, but they can all be replaced, my Christmas ornaments cannot.  After about an hour of loading up what I couldn't live without, I packed up the kids, dog and cat and evacuated my beautiful home.  Nathan had to work the next morning and decided that he would stay the night.  When he had to leave he would water the chickens, and open the door hoping that if the fire made it's way over, they could save themselves.

          It's now Sunday afternoon and the Myrtle fire has grown to about 10,000 acres and is 20 percent contained.  We were able to check on the house, garden, and chickens yesterday.  While everything is still there, the fire is now 1 mile to the east of us.  I am hopeful.  Prayers are going up like crazy and God has heard our cry.  Yesterday the entire Black Hills area got a dousing of rain, and there's a chance of rain today.  You can read more about the fire here.


         During the evacuation, I learned some things about my preparedness.  Some were well thought out, and some need some work.

1)  ALWAYS have good tires on your vehicle and a tank full (or near full) of gas.  Earlier in the day I had gotten a flat tire, so we had the spare on with the other in the trunk to get replaced.  Had this been a survive or die situation the consequences of not having good tires could have cost us our lives.  Also, I had to stop and fuel up.  Luckily gas stations were open at 1 a.m., but what if...

2) Two days earlier, I had just finished putting together an emergency folder.  It holds all of our personal information that can be very difficult to replace.
          ~ social security cards/ birth certificates
          ~ titles to vehicles and copies of insurance
          ~ phone numbers to insurance company, banks, utilities, etc. and account numbers
          ~ copies of ID's and updated photos of the family
          ~ medical cards
          ~ emergency contact information
          ~ shot records for any animals

I keep this folder very well hidden so I don't have to worry about this sensitive information getting into the wrong hands.  I used slip-in, folder pockets, but I need to get some folder pockets that can zip or snap shut.  Things may slide out and if you're in a hurry you might not notice.

3) We had an evacuation plan in place.
         ~ Where to evacuate to
         ~ What to do with the animals
         ~ What we would take with us and how we would move it

           Probably the most frustrating thing about not being able to be at home (other than the threat of a fire of course) is the lack of information.  We evacuated to a location quite a ways away from the house, so we really don't know what is going on.  The only information we can get is from a couple websites that are sporadically updated. 

          I encourage you, wherever you live, to think about what you can do to make a stressful event like this a little less stressful.  This is why we prepare after all.

This  post was shared at:
Homestead Barn Hop


7 comments:

  1. ~Christina~

    a very poignant post for sure. I waver back and forth on the Emergency Prepardness so glad you pointed out these details...I have a fire box with the important papers. It's handy-- but there are meds for The Honey, clothes, photos!!! isn't that crazy? Now we have animals...too.

    So glad you and your family are safe--Hope your home is saved. You and your family are in my prayers and I hope not displaced for too long. Glad to hear you got rain!
    Pat

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  2. very good post! praying for your family.

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  3. Sorry to hear about having to evacuate. This is never fun. We had to prepare for an evacuation back in 2003 when we lived in San Diego. Fortunately, God's hand provided blessing upon our family and many more in our area. I do hope the fire is contained soon and you can go back home.

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  4. I hope you are all doing well and that you can go home soon. I'm praying for you!

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  5. Mike in SE VirginiaJuly 24, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Thanks for taking the time to relay what is going on, and I hope everything works out well for you and your family.

    One thing you may want to consider creating is what The Survival Mom calls a Grab-N-Go Binder, which includes *copies* of all those important documents. See the following link for details:

    http://thesurvivalmom.com/2010/11/20/a-prepping-essential-the-grab-n-go-binder/

    All these copies go into plastic page holders, so they are at least a little protected from rain, dirt, etc. I put the originals of all these into a fire-proof box inside of my fire-proof safe. Okay, so I'm paranoid. I embrace it! In fact, I actually created two complete copies of the G-N-G Binder and put one into each of the Bug Out Bags that I made for myself and my wife. This way if we have to evacuate in two vehicles to move all the kids, dogs, chickens, etc, we each have all the information we need with us.

    Again, good luck with your fire and I really hope I never have to experience what you're going through right now.

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  6. We live in the Black Hills too and could see the glow of the fire the first night and the smoke reached us the next day and we are 55 miles (apx) from the Myrtle Fire. I'm glad you are all okay and will keep praying for you and your family. Praying for more rain too!
    Kim

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  7. Wow, I am so relieved to see that everything was alright back at your home. I actually blogged about the need to keep plenty of gas in the car for emergencies. You can read it here http://sunshinegleams.blogspot.com/2011/11/getting-out-of-town-in-emergency.html

    PS, I found you at the Barn Hop :)

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