Preparing for the Worst

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So, there’s been a plethora of fires lately here in Southern Cali. And, it’s very unusual for fires this time. Our fire “season” is usually from late summer to late fall, ending in early to mid November. Having fires in December is very rare.

And very scary.

We live near a wooded area. We’re actually surrounded by dry brush, so the thought of going up in flames at any given moment isn’t lost on us. It’s a reason why we have renter’s insurance and an emergency plan in case of the worst.

Earlier this year, a fire event happened near our home that pretty much put the fear of God into us so I thought this would be a good time to talk about preparing for an emergency.

Let’s start by asking some questions:

  1. Would you be able to pack everything in 10 minutes or less? (My advice – pack your pictures and your pets first).
  2. Would you have enough money in your account to hold you off for a few days or even several weeks? This would be a good time to have cash on hand. Start a small savings account in your home. Yes, your home. Start by saving singles until you have a roll of $50. Then start with a new single. Keep saving the rolls until you have at least $1000 or any set amount you want. Believe me, you will save that money a lot quicker than you think you can.
  3. Would any family or friends be able take you in?
  4. When was the last time you looked at your renters’/homeowners’ insurance policies? If you don’t have one, now would be a good time to get one. They’re usually inexpensive.
  5. Do you have an emergency kit available to take with you? Get one. In fact, this is a good one we have.

Those are the important questions. Here are the other secondary important questions:

  1. Do you have enough clothing and underwear to last at least a week?
  2. Please pack your medication, vitamins, etc. in a place where they are easily accessible. (This isn’t a question, but a directive.)
  3. Do you have enough feminine care products to last a full period from start to finish?
  4. Do you have enough USB cords, battery packs, etc. for all of your devices? If you have one for a computer, consider buying an extra. Same goes for phones, tablets, etc.

For children:

  1. Do you have something from home that’s a memento for them? Like a blanket or plush toy? Bear loves his Thomas the Train pillow and we always take it with us when we visit my parents in Palm Springs.
  2. Do you have enough diapers to last? The number of diapers you should have, at a bare minimum, should be 75, which is around three small packs.
  3. If you’re not breast-feeding, do you have enough formula to last a week? You would probably need three or four containers minimum.
  4. If your baby is starting on solids, you would need enough jars and pouches to last a week. It might sound like overkill, but you should probably aim for at least 20 jars and the same amount of pouches.

Please keep in mind, some shelters will only provide the very basic. They won’t supply feminine products nor would they have plenty of baby food and diapers to go around. In case you end up in a shelter, you want to be extra prepared.

Now, remember, all of the suggestions I’m making are in case of an emergency and some of those items should be packed and stored away, only to be updated throughout the year. I often keep a pack of diapers in the car and also one at Bear’s school, while there are two extra ones inside the home.

All of our important documents are located in one central area so it would be easy for us to just grab it and go.

For safety keeping, you should practice packing up the house in 10 minutes. Time yourself. (I say 10 minutes because sometimes when the flames are rapidly approaching, people only have a few minutes to pack up everything and leave.)

What other suggestions do you have?

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