Five years ago a fire that started in Mexico tore through the Huachuca Mountains and in a week's time we were told to evacuate. It's a strange and scary experience to have a deputy knock on your door and tell you to leave your home--now! The weather conditions were tinder dry, 11 per cent humidity and lower, and 40 mile an hour winds. We were thankful the fire was stopped less than a mile from our house. Evacuation is not a lot of fun, but I learned about the importance of the "Go Bag." I'll share some tips to get organized in case you ever have to evacuate for any reason--hurricane, flood, tornado, fire, earthquake, etc.
Here’s a breakdown of necessities for evacuation:
· Insurance policies (house, car, life)
· Wills, trust documents (originals)
· Vehicle titles
· Real estate documents
· Birth certificates, marriage license, passports
· Pet documents
Although some of the documents aren't irreplaceable, some are a real pain to replace and can be expensive. If you have originals of wills and trust documents, they are irreplaceable and you’ll have the expense of redoing them if they’re lost. Maintaining a good filing system where these important papers are categorized properly in file folders will make your life a lot simpler if you have to grab them and run.
We were fortunate to stay with friends while we were evacuated, so we didn't stay in a shelter like hundreds of others. If a shelter is your only option and you have a few more minutes to prepare the list below will help ease the stress:
The above lists aren’t exhaustive, but they give you the basics of preparation. Other sources are the FEMA (fema.gov) and American Red Cross (redcross.org) websites. Check with your local sheriff’s department or emergency services department for more information unique to your location.