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What Would You Grab in an Emergency?

Teddy bear at Happy Simple Living
Photo by Filtran

As of this moment, we have a dozen major wildfires burning in Colorado.  On Tuesday the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs exploded and began burning homes in a quiet subdivision.

The news channels are broadcasting live images of hundreds of homes destroyed by the relentless fire, and those of us a safe distance from the danger watch and shake our heads in disbelief. We pray for rain and make donations to the Red Cross, but it’s hard not to feel helpless watching the out-of-control inferno as hundreds of brave firefighters battle the blazes.

Waldo Canyon Fire at Happy Simple Living
Evacuating Colorado Springs –
photo by Daisy Elaine

Many in Colorado Springs, Boulder, Fort Collins and other areas are now all too familiar with the phrase “pre-evacuation notice.” Those close to the fire’s path have received reverse 911 calls advising them to gather important documents and supplies so that they can be ready to leave in a moment’s notice if needed.

Suppose you had just a few minutes to gather what was important to you and get out of your house? Do you have your papers, medications and valuables in one easy-to-grab location?

More importantly, what else would you take?

The American Red Cross has put together an excellent evacuation checklist with specific steps you can take to be prepared in case you have to leave your home during a disaster. I decided to make my own list, with the things I’d want to take in order of priority:

1. Kids (let’s not forget them!)

2. Pets (a dog, cat, rat and fish – Lordy, the car is going to be crowded)

3. Purse (which theoretically contains my cell phone, car keys, reading glasses and a credit card – since I usually have about two dollars in my wallet)

4. Pet food, snacks and water bottles

5. Clothes and shoes

6. Important papers (insurance info, birth certificates, passports)

7. Photos and scrapbooks

8. Mementos and items of sentimental value

9. Valuables like jewelry

Going through this exercise was interesting for me. Once you get past #2 on the list, things drop pretty quickly in priority. But can you imagine losing your home and everything in it in a disaster? Our thoughts and prayers are with those families, and with the firefighters who are risking so much and working so hard to put out the fires.

What would you grab in an emergency? You might also enjoy reading 21 Ways to Prepare for the Unexpected.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites and 101 Things To Do With Bacon. She shares ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, time and money. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

4 thoughts on “What Would You Grab in an Emergency?”

  1. It’s funny, I was burning something in the kitchen the other day, and my dog grabbed his bone and his chew toy and ran to the door!

  2. Many years ago, we received a pre-evacuation notice. It made us realize what really is important, life, a few essentials and photos. Everything is replaceable!

  3. Back in 2001 we had a house fire due to a faulty electrical wire behind the wall. I rushed out my teenaged boys and dog, and the phone to call for help. I moved the car and attempted to move the full propane tank. Only after we were safely outside did we think of all the things we probably should have grabbed. But to me the most important things were my children and I had them. sure there were things I wish I could have saved, but nothing as important as what I did save.

  4. I really should get together passports, birth certificates & insurance information into one file, should I? For me too, kids & pets top the list (3 kids, a cat, a dog and 3 chickens), and honestly, if I have to gather that lot up in an emergency, there probably wouldn’t be time for much else! We periodically burn backup DVDs of all our photos & give them to my mum, though of course that wouldn’t include pre digital photos like from our wedding.

    But water, snacks, blankets… To be honest we are not prepared for an emergency evac at all!


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