With all the active wildfires burning in California right now, and 2-3 months left of wildfire season, I decided to offer my thoughts on wildfire preparation. Some of you know that we are survivors of the 2018 Paradise Camp Fire. We lost our home in that fire and almost everything we owned. So, in such a time as this, here are my tips.
Things to do to prepare:
- Take a video of the entire contents of your house, garage, outdoor structures, yard, trees, cars, etc… (I used my iPhone to take a video). If your insurance requires you to provide a complete inventory of your belongings a video will be very helpful
- Back up your personal computer, store important photos digitally online in Shutterfly or another photo site or cloud storage like OneDrive, iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox.
- Fill up your car with gas.
- Put all of your import documents like birth certificates, deeds, titles, social security cards, passports, and cash in one place near your bed or bedside table.
- Pack a change of clothes and some toiletries and non-perishable snacks in a bag.
- Put any medications and medical devices near the other grab-and-go bags.
- Put your personal laptop computer and back-up hard drive here too.
- Gather any sentimental, non-replaceable items you have in the same spot as well.
Things I was glad we had:
- Each of my kiddos grabbed one stuffed animal that was a comfort to them in the weeks following the fire
- 7 vintage handmade quilts
- laptop & hard drive
- important papers envelope (birth certificates, etc…)
- My son’s prescription glasses
Things I lost in the fire that I wish I hadn’t:
- my prescription glasses
- my wedding ring
- a necklace I wore at my wedding that I was going to give to my daughter
- my grandmother’s broaches
- my daughters white blankie that she needed to sleep
- my family journal
- my recipe collection
- a hospital bracelet from an ectopic pregnancy
I wouldn’t wish the experience of losing one’s home in a wildfire on my worst enemy. It is a horrible experience that we continue to struggle with nearly 2 years later. If you are in a situation where you may need to evacuate, I hope you find my ideas useful.
Please pray for all those affected by wildfires and the brave first responders and firefighters who are trying to help.
Update: 9/9/20 – My husband says he’s loading up the bikes this time… just in case…