Penny and I survived a bit of a scare with the 2017 wildfires in Sonoma and Napa counties. The closest fire came within 2 miles of the house and some evacuations about a half mile away. But we never had to leave and didn’t lose power at any time. Unlike many in the area we were very lucky.
In our prior home in the Oakland Hills there was an active neighborhood group that promoted emergency preparedness as part of a city program set up following the devastating 1991 Oakland Hills fire. Despite some of the prior planning and instruction we received about emergency situations there we were still a bit flustered when it came time to pack up the cars for a possible order to evacuate the area this time around.
Here are a few thoughts that came to mind during and after this scare. Even in those cases where we had prior planning we found our preparation to be in some cases incomplete. Each of the thoughts listed below will be linked to additional posts which dive into a bit more detail.
- Have a go bag packed and ready at all times
- Review your go bag on a regular basis
- Segregate important documents that need to leave with you
- Have several containers of water stored
- Backup your computer hard drive in the cloud
- Scan all family photos
- Never let your gas tank hover near empty
- Make a list, check it twice
- Photograph and/or video everything in your house
- Leave the lights on. And a TV.
- Get to know your neighbors
- Don’t wait
Taking some time to do all of the following above doesn’t make one paranoid, it makes one prepared. When we moved from the steep hills of Oakland into the core of a town on flat ground we figured the risk from wildfires to our home was practically eliminated. The recent events in wine country has reminded us that we should never be complacent.
Chances are you’ll never be faced with having to rely on any of the steps above. But if that unlikely event does arise then being prepared allows you to act quickly without thinking and thus reducing stress in an emergency situation.