Many people across the world have dealt with forest fire evacuations and let me say this, they never ever get easier. You hear the word "evacuation" and every dark and dismal thought about burning to death enters your mind along with what emotions you would feel if you lost everything.
I have made it safely through two evacuations- The Old Fire of 2003 when I was just 17 and the Grass Slide Fire in 2007 at 21. Neither were easy, but both were eye opening to the events that could save your life and precious items. The reason I am writing this post is because there is currently a massive (7000 + acre) fire burning just to the north of my house. One change in wind direction and I could lose everything. That is scary, but not as scary as those who are unprepared for nature's most relentless monster.
I wanted to share how I am ready in the event I have only a few moments to grab what is important-
1- I always have a bag with a change of clothes packed.
2- A case of water and beef jerky is always in my car.
3- My emergency contacts are labeled as "ICE" in my phone. ICE stands for "In Case of Emergency". It will help first responders get a hold of your family.
4- Pay attention to wind patterns and if it is close, it is better to leave than be stuck.
5- Know your evacuation route as well as additional routes.
6- Have a predetermined meeting place so if cell towers go down you know where you are going.
7- Always have a credit card or cash available. I got a measly $500 credit limit Capital One card that I never use so I can pay for gas, food and a hotel room in the event I have no where to go.
8- Scan important documents and photos on to a zip drive you carry with you or can put in a safety deposit box.
9- My car always has at least a 1/2 tank of gas.
10- Be sure to photograph each room with its belongings for insurance. It protects you from defrauding the insurance company on what you own.
I am sure there are things I am missing, but this is honestly how I feel now that a third evacuation is a very real threat.
Nothing is worth your life so make sure you are only taking what is important.