I listened to an interview with a wildfire evacuee recently. Someone much like us who never thought her area of Oregon would be involved in such a devastating wildfire. She said she thought she was prepared but in the end result of taking what she had with her she realized she had forgotten her jewelry. When she was able to make a quick trip back, nothing was left of her neighborhood to give her a landmark as to where her house had been. She lived on a cul-de-sac and finally found the mailboxes for her street.
The interview gave me another smack on the forehead. I had already been asked by 2 Master Gardener friends--"Are you ready to pick up and run if need be? Do you have a list?" My answer has been with an ashamed --"Well, no."
There are preparedness lists on line. The value of the list is to customize it to the needs of you and your family in an organized and detailed fashion. One friend shared their detailed list with me. Perhaps it will help motivate you to prepare for what we hope never happens.
Thinking you know where all the individual items are and being able to grab them on the go from various cupboards, drawers or closets is idealistic. Time needs to be spent now to organize back packs,(each family member should have their own color), duffel bag, personal files and items for the car. Sounds like a lot, but remember that you are taking your "life" with you.
The bags should be packed and left all year round with reminders to check and renew food items, change seasonal clothing, recharge radio battery every 3 months, check bottled water supply. If you have a pet, pack a bag of supplies including a collar, leash, bowls. Larger items like a crate and a bag of litter could be on a list for a car
All back packs should contain 2 face masks per person, a whistle, house keys or keys to outbuildings, flashlight, nut bars, a protein source, maybe jerky or dried sausages and goggles. COVID concerns would be to include wipes, sanitizer and gloves.
The duffel bag could contain PJs for all. underwear for all, socks, extra shirts, extra shorts & pants, sandals/slippers, for a cat-leash/collar, bowls.
Back pack # 1--Device chargers, hard drive, toothbrushes for all, first aid kit, radio(recharge battery every 3 months, can opener, tuna, matches, extra batteries for flashlights, forks, extra glasses, packable jacket., wallet with cash.
Back pack #2--Jewelry bag, checkbook with extra checks, plastic bags, sunglasses, packable jacket, pen/pencil pad, wallet with cash.
Things to think about--who will carry the medications or will everyone carry their own? Are the medications currently in a container that can quickly be covered and picked up? Is there room in the car for sleeping bags or blankets?
Important papers should be together in a file box that is easily identifiable by using red tape. Password list for all devices, any home photos or photos of valuable belongings could be helpful for insurance purposes.
All the items should be in close proximity to your exit path--close to the car, a laundry room closet? Everything should be tagged so their isn't any question of "Does this go?" The list that was shared included what to wear--jeans-natural fabric, long sleeve shirt over short sleeve, hat.
Think about leaving early once the warnings are being issued, even the Level I. It will help you get ahead of the traffic plus hopefully find a hotel room.
All this being said and done, let us hope our "packed up life" will never have to leave the driveway.
Don't forget to check out the Gardening: Get Good At It "Putting the Garden to Bed" segment on Tues. October 6, on KPOV 88.9 FM between 9-9:30 am.