April 26, 2011
A neighbor who had to evacuate due to wildfires shared his checklist with us:
This is my personal "what to do list" that worked for us in our previous home before we moved here. Our home was threatened by wildfires several times and we were evacuated. These are just suggestions. Many of these suggestions can be done now, well in advance of a threat of wildfire. If we had not had the priority list taped to the inside of our kitchen cabinet, l'm not sure we would have taken the things we really needed. A close and threatening fire is panic producing.
Be sure both your land line and cell phones are on the city or county reverse 911 directory.
Clean out and remove all dead vegetation, mow dead grasses, remove brush, thin out dead branches of trees, especially from the Piñon and junipers within 30 to 40 feet of your home and out buildings. You may want to elevate the canopy of trees up to 4 feet above ground. Rake up pine needles and cones from around Piñon and other pine trees. You may take all of this to the Buckman transfer station. They will take all vegetation debris for a nominal cost.
At the first inkling of real threat: put cats in cat containers with a familiar toy and leave at front door. Put leashes on dogs and attach to a strong table leg or something so that they cannot get loose. Put horses in trailer and attach to your truck. When it is time to leave, put the animals in your vehicle and be sure they cannot get out when you open the doors. Take 1-2 days worth of food and or medication for them, and toys.
Make prioritized list of things that you want to take. Remember that you can use pillow cases, sheets, blankets to put things in or wrap with. Put the prioritized list on the inside of a kitchen cabinet or closet door where it will be for you to check off. Check the list from time to time to familiarize yourself with it or to see if there are changes to be made
Things that might be on your list:
Medications and medical devices that you use daily. Jewelry. Irreplaceable items that are special to you. Photographs, family heirlooms, cash, insurance papers, cc's of tax returns and other tax information, important papers such as wills, etc., address book, anything else that is very special to you.
Have cars or trucks pointed out to your egress route. Keep gates open for fire trucks. Close all windows, chimney flues, and do not pull drapes over the windows. Remove stacked firewood 20 feet from your house and remove bbq propane tanks and put 20 feet from you house.
If you have neighbors who are debilitated or frail, be sure they know what is going on. You may have to take them and their medication with you as you leave.
You may want to check this list with your local fire department and see if there is anything to add. It is better to be prepared than caught off guard. Be safe.
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