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This week I’m going to talk about one of my favorite things ever….my camera. I know what you’re thinking….”everyone has a camera, how is that an original idea?’ But I just have to mention the reasons why I love it so much and one of them is very pertinent to what is going on in my life right now.
-First off, I love it for all of the reasons most people love their cameras – photos of my family and friends. I am marginally obsessed with taking pictures. Now I am NOT a photographer, I just love taking pictures of pretty much anything. And I do like to pretend I’m a photographer every once in a while and try to get crafty with my shots. I actually look at my pictures all the time. I try to print them, but I also keep them on my computer and I go through them a lot. I also upload them to a photo site so I can share them with friends and family.
-Reason Two! I also take pictures of things I want to have the memory of, but don’t want to keep. Case in point…I do crafts with my son all the time, but do I really need to keep every finger painting, pipe cleaner animal and sticker chart? No. So I keep my very favorites and take pictures of the rest. Well, I actually take pictures of all of them, but that allows me to be very picky with the ones I keep. He is the cutest little artist. Look at this masterpiece!
-Third Reason: I try to always keep a camera with me just in case I really need it. Here are some scenarios I’ve come up with in my mind. If I get in a fender bender, I might want to document possible damage to one of the cars. If I happen to see a bear or some other fleeting wildlife scenario, I want to be able to capture it on film. Here’s an example:
My husband and I were on a drive and all of a sudden we came upon 11 deer, all bucks, in a field. Now we have a lot of deer in our area, but to see 11 big Bucks is pretty rare for us. It’s not the best shot, but I’m so glad I had my camera!
-Fourth Reason: Photos are a great way to take inventory of your home and possessions. Right now, we are plagued by wildfires in Colorado. I am not currently in danger of being evacuated, but I have friends who have been. We actually are watching 2 dogs that belong to a Colorado Springs police officer (who we have never met!) because his home is evacuated and he is working in the Springs. We also had friends stay with us last night. There have been almost 350 homes lost in this fire in the last several days and this was clearly completely unexpected. Here is a shot my husband took from the town next to us:
It’s incredibly sad and my heart goes out to all of the families who have lost their homes. Right now, we are doing things at our house to prepare in case we might have to evacuate for any reason. One of the best things you can do to prepare is to inventory what you have. It literally takes 5 minutes to walk through your house and snap photos of every room, closet, appliance and valuable. You might be thinking that you are not in danger of a wildfire. But what about house fire, floods, burglary? You never know what kind of situation will come up so it’s best to be prepared. And you know what else? My house is quite a mess right now. The organization bug in me wanted to clean the whole house before I took pictures, but then I realized these pics are not for the masses. They are only for documentation. Once I got over that hurdle, I was able to quickly snap photos of every room so I always know exactly what I have. I plan on redoing this every year and I’m uploading them to my photo site so that I can access the ‘Home Inventory’ album from anywhere at any time.
Please take 4-5 minutes and walk through your home with a camera. Snap photos of each room and inside each closet and cabinet. Then download them into a file and back the file up. This could save you a ton of time, money and sanity if something should happen to your home. They don’t have to be pretty or even good, just take the photos!
I don’t want to leave you with that, so I’ll just leave you with a couple of my favorite photos from the last couple years:
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:
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!
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!
A few weeks ago, there was a safety fair in the town pretty close to me.
The sad thing was that there was NO ONE there! I mean nobody, except the exhibitors. It was sad really. Safety in your home, on the road, in the wild, with your family is so important and NO ONE was there! I guess there’s just not a big exciting draw to car seat safety and bear attack prevention booths.
One thing I did find out about though was…
Nixle. Have you heard of this??? It’s a national notification system that offers free email and text notifications for alerts, advisories and warnings. Now, in my neck of the woods (in the Colorado mountains), many times these alerts and warnings are about forest fires.
You may be saying “Well, I’m living in a concrete jungle or suburbia. Why in the world do I care about forest fires?”
Well, Nixle is not just about natural disasters or rural issues. Let me give you an example. I have signed up to alert for my zip code, but also for my parents zip code and my in-laws (you can set up to 5 zip codes to automatically alert). My in-laws are in Atlanta and the other day, I got an alert for them because there was a major accident on the highway closest to them and it was closed. Now isn’t that useful and timely information? For free.
Back to rural Colorado. So we have had forest fires near us and I hadn’t been too concerned because they usually are able to contain them in a reasonable amount of time. But combine high winds, high heat, and no rain, we just had one get out of hand about 8 miles from us.
Springer Fire – Eleven Mile Canyon – June 2012
Smoke Blocking the Sun
It is called the Springer Fire and is now slowly being contained. But we had the possibility of evacuation if the fire came this way. Instead of me searching online or calling the fire department, I have been getting daily reports on the status of the fire, any closures, and the amount of containment. Genius!
So go to their website and spend 30 seconds getting yourself set up for these alerts. It could make a difference in your commute or it could save your life. Either way, it’s worth the time.