Thursday, June 20, 2013

Preparing for the Worst

How do you prepare to leave your home (quickly), when you don't know whether it will be there when you return? It's the terrible dilemma you have when you face the possibility of evacuation because of a natural disaster.

Beautiful Granite Mountain is on fire, as well as thousands of acres of Prescott National Forest that surround it. Fifty foot flames are scuttling across boulders and cliffs, consuming the Ponderosa Pines and Junipers, and making waste of the chaparral. The rugged green landscape is blackened. It's sickening. And the winds of destruction are literally blowing in our direction.

Photo by: Michael Chow/The Republic

Our attention to the firefight is rapt. We can see DC-10 tankers spreading fire retardant slurry, while helicopters buzz around dropping water. Spotter planes lead the way. Firefighters on the ground are working around the clock and, against the wind and apparent odds, so far their efforts have kept nearby homes safe. Nevertheless, our community five miles northeast has been put on alert for possible evacuation.

Did we have an emergency plan? No... But we quickly put one together. We might have to leave the house on fairly short notice, taking only what we can pack into our Subaru. We approached the awful choices to be made by breaking things into categories:

.  Purse/wallets.
.  Cell phones/charger.
.  Netbook/charger.
.  Small backpack of clothing, and one sturdy pair of shoes. (Dammit, I'm taking those cute and impractical new jeans from Chicos that I haven't even had a chance to wear.)
.  Prescription medications.
.  Eyeglasses/Contact lenses.
.  Basic toiletries.

.  Birth and Marriage certificates.
.  Checkbooks.
.  Receipts for household furniture and goods (in case we have to file an insurance claim).
.  Lease for Chicago condo.
.  PC tower with hard drive. (Important files have been backed up on a separate device.)

.  Cash.
.  Jewelry
.  Art. (We could only choose a few things that would fit in the car. A lot of beautiful pieces could be lost.)

.  Photographs.
.  Beezum's ashes.
From our front yard - Day 1

I went through the house and took photos of furniture, art, and other belongings. Everything we can take is already packed and staged for departure. If we get the dreaded word, all we need to do is load the car and go. In the meantime, we are praying for the strength and safety of the firefighters.  


  1. Hi Laurel, I hope you never got the evac order and that all is safe and sound. Johnny and I were just talking about you and Ron and wondering how retirement is going. I'd like to pick your brain once the fires settle down and you are safe!

    1. Kim, I sent you a Facebook message. Let's get in touch.