I live in Northern California about 100 miles from the fires in Lake County. The issue of having to leave one's home to escape harm has been on my mind. When given only a short time to gather your things and leave, what does one take? I can only assume that clear thinking at this time is minimal or non-existent. What can we do NOW to make this situation go smoother if it did happen to us? Reflecting on this issue when there is no emergency will increase your chance that you will grab what is meaningful and valued. I have a few suggestions:
1. Have a list ready with items you want to grab and the location of them. Keep the list in an easily findable place. Examples of what to put on the list: My legal papers - located in the top drawer of the file cabinet, Medications - in the left cabinet in kitchen, Personal ID - purse/wallet, Passports and other important documents - located in top drawer of file cabinet, etc. Include what is important to you.
2. Scan all important documents onto a travel drive that goes with you. Include birth, death and marriage certificates, legal papers, etc.
3. Decide now on photos and other mementos you would want to take. In the "heat" of the moment, you may not remember what these beloved items are. This could include jewelry, irreplaceable family treasures and other valuables. Add them to your list.
4. Know how to turn off your electricity and other utilities that would make your house safe for fire fighters.
5. If you do not do online banking and bill pay, scan copies of utility and other bills including account numbers. Or add to your list to grab.
6. Have enough carriers for all your pets and think about plans for finding the animals.
7. Add food to your list - snacks, water, etc.
8. Have cash available either hidden in the home (add to list, with location) or in your wallet.
9. List what clothing you would take. Plan on taking enough clothes to last you a few days.
I am sure I forgot some things to do. Each of us value different things and need to decide individually. Look around your home for those precious items and put them on your list. Better to be prepared then surprised and then regretful.
The internet has additional information that you may find applicable and useful.
Here's to safety and being prepared!!!