Growing up my friends would often tease me because I would always pack a lot whenever we would go somewhere.
I had a good reason for packing so much and that was because I liked being prepared for things, anticipated and unexpected.
Nothing has changed.
I am not the spontaneous, fly by the seat of your pants type of person. I like being prepared, knowing what to prepare for and not just for me, but for those around me.
For example, when I packed my labour bag, I brought snacks, drinks and reading material for my hubby and my mom.
I singlehandedly saved a wedding many years ago. Ok, so maybe that is a little over the top, but I was very helpful because I was prepared.
I was doing the makeup for a bride and her bridesmaids and the running joke that day was “if you need something, ask Grace because she probably has it”. New toothbrush with toothpaste, nylons, hairspray, bobby pins, snacks, clear nail polish for the run in your nylon…the list went on.
Why this need to be prepared? I admit, sometimes it’s a fear of the unknown, but mostly it’s because I don’t expect others to have to prepare for me. I like being prepared and I like being able to help other people who may not be prepared. I chalk it up to growing up as the oldest of 6.
I think being prepared is great, but try as we might, there are times or situations where we are caught off guard and don’t have that option. How do we prepare the best we can for those unexpected situations?
Back in 2003 there was a HUGE wildfire that forced us and thousands of others out of our homes. We could see the glow of the fire getting closer and closer and me being the preparer and planner, started prepping.
I was also working close to where I lived at the time and a girl at work kept saying “it’ll never get to us”, but I wasn’t so sure and wanted to be prepared.
I was living at home with my parents and brothers, but mom and dad were out of town. There was a trailer on our property, so a few days before we were told to flee, I started packing pictures and other valuables into it. A friend later moved it to a safe location.
We were thankful I had the opportunity to pack us up because when the call to go came, we grabbed our purses/wallets and left.
If you are wondering, our house was unscathed, but there were hundreds of homes lost in our area. It took weeks, but we were eventually able to move back home.
It seems that every summer since then, the threat is again a possibility. Surprisingly, I have not prepared for an emergency evacuation, even though the thought crosses my mind every summer.
There was a day this summer where there was a HUGE cloud of smoke behind the mountain in front of us from a wildfire. The chances of that fire getting to us was fairly minimal, but it still made me stop to think what we would need to take if we were told to evacuate.
That experience made me decide to create a list of things to put into a fire/water proof safe and to create an emergency packing checklist.
There are situations where people can’t make it back to their homes to grab important documents. I know that at least in a fireproof/waterproof safe they would be secure until one could retrieve them.If we were home and told to evacuate, everything was already together, so I could just grab this box and go.
I also made a quick checklist of things to pack in an emergency to add to our home management binder. This is helpful if we have enough warning to grab some important things before evacuating. I know that when the pressure is on, I may not be thinking clearly and forget to grab what’s essential. Creating these lists while I can think clearly and am not under pressure is the best time to do them.
This is what I have included:
· Current insurance papers (house, car, life) and information
· Birth certificates
· Hard drive of family photo’s
· Debt information
· Social insurance or Social Security information
· List of the family doctors/prescriptions/medications
· Safety deposit key
· Titles and spare keys to vehicles
· Home inventory list and receipts for major purchases
· Copies of the front and back of your credit cards, debit cards and driver’s license
· Important documents
-diplomas and certificates
· Back-ups of important computer files
This is a list of items to grab if time permits when evacuated:
· Your Safe (with all the above important documents)
· Purse & Wallets (Credit cards, Cheques, Cash)
· Prescription glasses, hearing aids and contacts
· Family heirlooms
· Family Bible
· Irreplaceable keepsakes
· Photos, albums, slides, movies, home videos
· Family heirlooms
· Soap & Shampoo
· Shaving items
· Feminine products
· Body products
Clothing (type of clothing can depend on the time of year, 1-7 days worth)
· Infant clothing
· Cell phone and chargers
· Camera, chargers and batteries
· External hard drive
Here is a printable checklist of items to pack if you’re evacuated with enough time to grab some important items.
Are you prepared for an emergency evacuation? Use the list above and this checklist to help you prepare ahead of time.