The recent La Tuna fire had us talking about what we would take in case of evacuation. Most of the DIGGS team lives in the area and spent the weekend with a watchful eye on the flames in the hills around us. Several agents made donations to the firefighting crew at Crescenta Valley Park. One helped their father hose down his roof and keep watch over his house in Burbank. The team was evenly split over bringing more of the irreplaceable, sentimental items, and practical items.
Social media played a big part in the communication within the community during this fire. Calls for donations and offers to help were all over our feeds all weekend. If you have social media accounts, consider following your local fire, police and local news station accounts. The Los Angeles Fire Department Twitter page was one of the best sources of up to the minute information about the La Tuna Fire over the weekend.
The state of California has a website and mobile phone app dedicated to informing residents about wildfires in their area. They have many resources for people to prepare their house for wildfires and prepare for an evacuation with an Emergency Supply Kit.
We would add some of the following items to our emergency supply kit:
Comfort items for the kids. Even if your child does not have a special stuffed animal or blankie, a pillow from their bed can make them feel a connection to home that puts them at ease.
A book, playing cards, or magazines. Evacuees are often sent to local high school auditoriums or recreation centers. Non electronic entertainment can keep your mind occupied and help while away time waiting for evacuation orders to be lifted. This will also reserve the battery life of your electronics so that you can stay up to date on the status of the emergency.
Back up batteries for your electronics and power splitters. We are all connected to our wireless devices these days. Keep them powered up as best as you can.
Sleeping bags. Most evacuation shelters will have a limited supply of bedding, but you will probably be more comfortable sleeping in your own stuff.
The worst time to consider what you should take when you are ordered to evacuate your home is in the rush to get out the door. Have a plan in place, with checklists if possible, to help you evacuate as quickly and efficiently as possible. What would you bring?