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Fires Emphasize Importance of Being Prepared – More Than Just Gear and Supplies

The fires currently raging in southern California serve to remind us that it isn’t just earthquakes and floods and hurricanes that we must be prepared for. If you are not prepared ahead of time to evacuate quickly, or “bug out” to use the preparedness vernacular, you will not only likely suffer more than necessary, but you stand to lose irreplaceable personal items. We cover the issue of emergency preparedness at length on Equipped To Survive, the 72 hour kit article is a place to start.

However, there’s another element to preparedness that’s often forgotten. Houses and business can be replaced, that’s what insurance is for. However, what can never be replaced are those priceless mementos and family pictures, the family Bible and the like.

If you had less than 30 minutes to evacuate, and many in this latest fire had less than that, what would you choose to take? Would you even have time with all else you need to assemble. The key is preparation.

First off, if all your basic survival and preparedness gear is ready to go, the most basic of preparations, that’s one less thing you have to worry about. If your critical papers are also included with this gear and supplies, you don’t have to think about that either. Make copies or scan all critical paperwork, insurance policies, etc., and place on a USB drive. This will only take a few hours of effort and will save you untold hours of aggravation and money if you ever need them. Remember to keep these updated.

A laptop or notebook computer can be easily grabbed, but if you have only a large desktop, it may be easier to have it backed up to a compact-sized USB hard drive. That’s easier to grab and run with than a larger computer with all sorts of cables to disconnect. You ought to have a back-up anyway.

If you have scrapbooks or treasured personal posessions, the best bet is to store them in one place, ideally in some sort of easily carried package. Plastic totes make it easy to grab and go. If that’s too difficult, at least keep them in one place and have the totes ready, so all you have to do is dump everything in them. If even that’s not going to work, if there’s stuff you want to display, make a priority list with the location and use that to quickly assemble these treasures into the totes. The key is to minimize wasted time when there’s no time to spare.

You also have to realistic as to what you can take. How much can you fit into and/or on your vehicle(s)? Make a priority list, so you don’t have to try and figure out what’s most important when the time comes.

You can’t predict when some crises like fire will strike. You can be prepared so that you don’t end up running around like a chicken with its head cut off. The time to do it is now, when you have time to do it. Don’t put it off.