Safe and sound….and preparing for more

Hi all! Earlier last week I posted about Nixle, which is an emergency notification system that can send you emails or texts with any advisories or warnings in your area. You can read the post here.  Well, it turns out I have been using that service quite a bit this week. I live in Colorado and yesterday a fire started just west of Colorado Springs. It has already grown to over 2500 acres and is working its way towards my community.

It probably won’t reach us, but the little town close to us is on pre-evacuation standby. This means every0ne has to be ready to leave. This is scary stuff. Here are the things I am doing to prepare:

-I have texted or emailed friends in the pre-evacuation area to let them know they can come to our house if they are evacuated. The reason I am texting and emailing is because the phone lines are in heavy use and it can be difficult to get through.

-I have filled our truck up with gas. You never know when you will need to leave and when you’ll get a chance to fill up.

-All of our windows and doors are closed because the smoke here is fairly heavy.

-I have let my out of town friends and family know what is going on and that I am ok.

-I have been in contact with my neighbors so we are all on the same page with what to do if this gets any closer to us.

-I have the news on, am keeping an eye on internet updates and am getting my Nixle texts.

-I TRIED to go the grocery store to stock up. Let’s keep in mind that the closest good size grocery store is 30 minutes away and towards the fire. My husband was out of town (and is trying to get home!) so I packed up the kids and went all the way to the store. I pulled into the parking lot, reached over for my purse….and reached for my purse…..um, no purse. Are you kidding me? I forgot my purse? So I texted my husband to pick up water on his way home and I drove ALL THE WAY home. We have enough food to get us by if they close the grocery store, so we’re ok, but I was so frustrated. That taught me the following HUGE lesson:

Keep your written evacuation checklist handy! So I wasn’t evacuating and it wasn’t technically an emergency yet, but I was flustered and I forgot a critical item when I left the house. I don’t think I’ve left the house without a purse in 15 years! If this had been an actual evacuation, I could have been in real trouble. I do have an evacuation list for when we have to leave to the house, but this little incident showed me how being distracted, scared, busy or time crunched can really affect your thinking. So if you don’t have an evacuation checklist already, get one now, get it printed and make it easily accessible.

I have found several good resources for examples of checklists and evacuation info:

Red Cross Evacuation Checklist

FEMA – this is just a good reference all the way around when it comes to emergencies

Phantom Ranch Checklist – This is probably the most in depth list that I’ve seen. I have no idea really what this website is about. It’s actually a mish-mash of topics, but they are all very well thought out and informative. There is an extensive list of items to take on the checklist and also a list of what to do before leaving.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t always have long to grab things before evacuating. I just heard the best idea for if you have only a couple minutes….Grab the P’s!

The P’s:

People

Pets

Papers

Prescriptions

Photos

Easy enough right? Well, it’s still a good idea to have a written list that you can check off, but if you only have a minute, remember the P’s! I’m exhausted so I’m off to bed. But look for an upcoming post with links to my checklist, which I plan to post. I’m hoping that even if people don’t write their own checklist, they might at least download one for reference!

Sunday Survey Time:

~Erin

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