This has been quite a crazy week. I was out of town on a little one day trip with my family. I got that dreaded call at 5:00 am from a neighbor. Your heart sinks and you think the most horrible thoughts about what could possibly be happening at home. It turns out my next door neighbor’s house caught fire and there had been some concern about it possibly spreading to my house or causing damage to my property and/or my chickens. Not what you want to hear when you are at least a 6 hour drive from home.
We arrived home and everything was ok with my house, but my neighbors house is completely unlivable and they lost almost everything they own. It is really devastating. This whole thing made me think a lot about fires, evacuations, etc. Here are some of my thoughts:
- Don’t assume you will be at home when a disaster occurs. I went through in my mind what things would have been the worst to lose should I have come home to my house being gone. We’ve talked on our blog a lot about getting a fireproof water proof safe but I have not gotten one yet. I have been trying to research them out and figure out what size I would need, and what all I would want to include in it, and if I would try to open the safe and pull things out versus just having a small one I could grab and take with me. I am overthinking it and not taking action. That could have proved disasterous. It is on my list to do THIS WEEK.
- Let someone know you are going out of town, even if it is only for one day. My neighbors were not prepared to help with anything because I hadn’t had anyone watching over our house. I figured a 24 hour trip wasn’t worth hassling anyone about. Even though they realized we weren’t home, they were concerned for our pets, and didn’t have easy access to my house/yard to take care of things.
- Plan and PRACTICE different evacuation scenarios. My husband was out of town on business, and we had gone to spend the day with him. If I had not done that, I would have been home alone with four babies. I had never actually processed in my mind what an evacuation scenario would be in the middle of the night, by myself, with my house in an immediate danger. I think I could have gotten my kids out, but I don’t know what would have been my next priorities, or if I’d be able to go back and grab stuff or if that would be too dangerous with the babies. I have two older kids so I need to work through what they could help with, and talk about it with them before an emergency situation should occur.
- Make sure your insurance is UP TO DATE. My neighbors were renting their house from a family member so it is unclear what if their possessions will be covered by insurance, if any. My kids heard me talking about this and they were asking me all about insurance and making sure that we have it. I assured them we did, but then I remembered I recently finished my basement and I have never changed my insurance policy to reflect that. So all of the money we put into that would be lost because they wouldn’t pay to replace that finished area if our house would have burnt down. Another “to-do” for this week.
Coincidentally, when I looked at the news to see if there were any details about the fire, I learned that a wild fire was raging about 30 minutes south of my neighborhood and over 400 homes had been evacuated. This obviously led me to consider all of these things even more. For any readers in the Eagle Mountain area we hope that you are safe and have learned from this experience as well.
-Jodi Weiss Schroeder