My wife and I recently celebrated our 18th anniversary at a local bed and breakfast. While eating breakfast we met a very nice lady from Santa Barbara. She is a ballet dance instructor at UCSB and was in town for a regional dance competition. I asked her if the current fires were close to her home, and she said that she had been evacuated the day before. (The fires have completely burned 77 homes and damaged an additional 22. 30,000 people were evacuated and have now returned, but they are to remain ready to leave again at a moments notice.) She said that she was given about 5 minutes to get what she needed and leave– possibly never to return.
This got me thinking about how can we prepare for this type of emergency. If you were given only 5 minutes to go through your house for the last time, would you be prepared to do so? I asked some of our seasoned employees here at EE what they would recommend doing to be prepared for a situation like this.
They consistently mentioned the following 3 recommendations (click on the hyperlinks to read more on each topic):
1) Have a family evacuation plan.
2) Sustain life by having some type of emergency kit (including water) near an exit.
3) Preserve and protect your valuables, such as important documents or special family photos. You need to decide what is most valuable to you and your family and then come up with a way to protect it.
Here are some excerpts from a letter we just received from one of our customers:
Dear Emergency Essentials,
I just wanted to thank you for your company and the great products you provide. I decided about two months ago that our family should purchase 72 hours of MRE food…It arrived about a week ago. Little did I know the timing couldn't have been better.
In the past three days we have experienced six fires in our valley. Sunday, we got our 72 hour kit and food ready to go in our car. Monday, half of our ward in Saugus and part of the adjacent Stake in Canyon Country was evacuated. We were only block away from the evacuated area. Luckily our area did not evacuate and the others in our ward were able to go home the same day. But, a few in the other Stake lost their homes. Then later on Monday, another ward in our Stake a few miles away in Stevenson Ranch had to evacuate immediately with a new fire. The fire went by fast and the fire department was able to protect all the homes. Then on Tuesday a fire started just down the road from us, but was put out quickly with two helicopters…
…It was so comforting to know we had our kit, food and a safe place to go.