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.
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.
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