PREPARING FOR THE UNEXPECTED

In discussion with family and co-workers amidst the ever-present and devastating wildfires I realized most people (self included) do not know on how to prepare for evacuation. Of course, why would we? Did anyone teach us these essential life skills in school? No. Apparently excelling in SAT scores was deemed more important. Well, times have changed, the world has changed and it’s morphing by the hour. Consequently, we need to become more life-savvy.

Below are some helpful links I’ve come across for you to peruse. There’s so many options of equipment, so many different needs people have that I couldn’t cover all the bases, but this is a place to start.

If you have a vehicle please also consider keeping a small emergency kit that includes back-up water, non-perishable food, and small fire extinguisher available. You may be the one person in your family who can’t get back to their home when an evacuation alert, earthquake, or some other equally messy situation occurs.

Most often the emergency kits never mention the need for other essentials, such as a musical instrument. When the batteries in your devices start to run out and there’s no electricity around you gotta know how to play. One never knows how long they’ll be detained from getting back to their homestead, and the hours can feel like days. Consider packing a guitar, flute or other hand held instrument. Books, card games, and a creative imagination also come in quite handy!

Music to soothe the aching heart.

For accessing clean, filtered water, consider a specialized filtration straw.
(reviews at link below)

https://www.saveourh2o.org/best-water-filter-straws/

Cool backpack “Insta-Potty”
https://toocoolnottoown.com/portable-backpack-toilet/

(The following preparation lists courtesy of http://www.readyforwildfire.org)

PRE-EVACUATION PREPARATION STEPS
* When an evacuation is anticipated, follow these checklists (if time allows) to give your home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.
* Home Evacuation Checklist – How to Prepare for Evacuation:
* Inside the House
* Have your Emergency Supply Kit/Evacuation Bag ready to go
link: https://www.readyforwildfire.org/prepare-for-wildfire/get-set/emergency-supply-kit/
* Ensure a Wildfire Action Plan is prepared ahead of time.
link: https://www.readyforwildfire.org/prepare-for-wildfire/get-set/wildfire-action-plan/
* Make sure you know your community’s emergency response plan and have a plan on where to go when it is time to evacuate, and best routes for leaving your location. Personal note: I would look at http://www.tripcheck.com
* Shut all windows and doors, leaving them unlocked.
* Remove flammable window shades, curtains and close metal shutters.
* Remove lightweight curtains.
* Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.
* Shut off gas at the meter; turn off pilot lights.
* Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions.
* Shut off the air conditioning.

Outside
* Gather up flammable items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats, trash cans, etc.) or place them in your pool.
* Turn off propane tanks.
* Move propane BBQ appliances away from structures.
* Connect garden hoses to outside water valves or spigots for use by firefighters. * * Fill water buckets and place them around the house.
* Don’t leave sprinklers on or water running, they can affect critical water pressure.
* Leave exterior lights on so your home is visible to firefighters in the smoke or darkness of night.
* Put your Emergency Supply Kit in your vehicle.
* Back your car into the driveway with vehicle loaded and all doors and windows closed. Carry your car keys with you.
* Have a ladder available and place it at the corner of the house for firefighters to quickly access your roof.
* Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.
* Patrol your property and monitor the fire situation. Don’t wait for an evacuation order if you feel threatened.
* Check on neighbors and make sure they are preparing to leave.

Animals
* Locate your pets and keep them nearby.
* Prepare farm animals for transport and think about moving them to a safe location early.

POWER OUTAGE: Preparing for one in advance, and actions to take during an event.

Power outages may occur before and during the threat of a wildfire. It’s important to be prepared and know what actions to take when leaving your home. Along with the pre-evacuation preparation steps, these are a few ways to be ready in case of a power outage during these critical times.
Learn how to manually open your automatic garage doors or gates—this is extremely important!
* Be familiar with your home’s utility boxes (electricity, water and gas).
* Keep shoes near your bed in case you need to evacuate during the night.
* Build a supply kit —and more than just a First Aid Kit. Include prescription medications and check the expiration dates. Include water, a battery-operated radio, flashlights and batteries (or a rechargeable flashlight), coolers or ice chests, and external rechargeable battery packs for your cellphones and include an extra charging cable. Also keep non-perishable food and a manual can-opener in your kit.
* Always keep the gas tank at least half full in your vehicles.
* Make your safety preparedness plan now and make sure your family knows each step and role they will play during this time.
* Don’t forget your pets! Have an action plan ready for them, too, and know how they will be cared for.
* If you have a power generator, be sure you know the safety guidelines of your model, including where to connect it, which electrical cords to use, and what the electrical load rating is. An improperly installed generator can electrocute you or an electric utility worker.
* Keep your cellphone charged.
* Keep a supply of bottled water.

During a Power Outage
* If the power goes out, follow these steps:
* Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed.
* Shut off the gas and other combustibles such as propane tanks.
* Stay at least 10 feet away from both overhead power lines and electrical facilities, and never approach or touch overhead power lines or any person or object in contact with the lines.
* If wildfire is within your area, keep informed with a battery-powered radio or your cellphone.

Thank you for reading. If you found this blog helpful and would like to gift a donation please go to: https://reginachante.org/donate/

4 thoughts on “PREPARING FOR THE UNEXPECTED

  1. When we (my family and I) experienced a fire in our home on Mother’s Day 2000, we were somewhat prepared but there was so much more that we weren’t ready for. We had a couple of steel trash cans out in the backyard filled with water, some food, flashlights, some account info and a first aid kit. However, we were actually only prepared for an earthquake and never expected a fire and that the fire was caused by a faulty electric blanket! My daughter, Kristel, was woken with her blanket on fire. She was unable to move from the shock of the event. She managed to bang on her wall and wake her sister, Monica. Monica has to drag her sister down from her bed because she was unable to react properly but also had sustained some burns. Both of the girls had loft beds, so had to climb down the stairs. Monica woke Ski and I by yelling, “FIRE, FIRE!”, over and over. Ski tried to put the fire out but only made it worse by trying to extinguish it with water. Electric fires will only get worse by water. I was busy dialing 911. Shortly, after the call went through, I realized that Ski needed to use an extinguisher or by now, too late, we should smother the fire. Well, that seemed to work better but now we were left with thick, acrid smoke. The fire department showed up but only after I had to call 911 again. It took at least 30 minutes for them to arrive! Living in the country, we only had a substation, not a fully equipped fire department. Plus, there were only 2 firefighters available. By law, firefighters cannot enter a burning structure with less than 4 firefighters. So, when they arrived, they sat in their truck smoking cigarettes and waiting for help from another station to respond that was 10 miles away in the next town. This is a long, long story that has even more horrible details but the huge point is that we weren’t prepared, the fire department wasn’t either and we were all in shock so never thought to grab our fire extinguishers!
    I love the list that you posted and I will print several copies to send out to who ever I can think of! This list should also be orally available on our phones because when a fire is happening, you’re probably not going to remember that list or even have time to read it. I have only been in a house fire but the rules are the same. Be prepared! I have had to think seriously about a wildfire situation recently. Living in Tucson area an having 2 fires within 5 miles of us, it makes your scalp prickle with fear. I was thinking that maybe we should also rent a storage locker with emergency supplies and clothing at least 20 miles from our home. Thanks very much for the best list I’ve seen for emergencies. Here in Arizona, we also have flooding and drowning threats from monsoon season. Now, I have a comprehensive list that really would help just everyone! Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my heavens!! I had NO idea your family went thru all that Norma. 🙏❤️ Angels has your back, ftho I’m sure the PTSD lingers greatly. Also had no idea about the firefighter rules. That is absolutely absurd and dangerous! Thank you sincerely for sharing your story here for others to read and learn from. Hugs and much love to you and yours. 💕

      Like

      1. I’m a long winded survivor but well meaning and feel blessed every single day. Not just for having a great outcome that day, we all survived and it was Mother’s Day, but for friends like you! ♥️

        Liked by 1 person

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