Go Baby Go

Emergencies can come in many forms: financial, health, weather (storm, flood, blizzard, tornado, tsunami, etc.), fire or attack. If you’ve read my blog for very long, you know I believe it’s prudent for families to be prepared for any emergency.

I live in Colorado and the most common weather related emergency is an occasional blizzard. Depending on the severity, power can go out, the airport can be closed, roads can become impassible, etc.

There have been times when people become stranded, but that is the exception. Usually within a few hours, days at most, services are back to normal.

A while back, I put together a “Go Bag” for Dick (my husband) and myself.

Hmm, didn’t know we needed a Go Bag!

A Go Bag is full of essential items and placed in a location that is near a door (such as an entry closet or garage by the car). That way if you ever have to quickly evacuate your home, you can grab the bag on the way out the door.

Now my Go Bag has been in my hall closet for a long time. Ready for any emergency. I had no idea the time we would need it wouldn’t be for a weather related event. We needed it last week.

If you live in Colorado, you know most of the snow falls in ski country, in the mountains. Denver is actually a valley. The annual snowfall in Denver is much different from the snow in the mountains. Denver’s annual snowfall is 55½ inches. The mountains receive about 400 inches of snow a year. So, you see, there is quite a difference.

Denver began this Spring with several fires, because of severe drought conditions. Since January Denver has seen 1.8 inches of snow and only 18½ inches the entire season! The 90-day forecast calls for warmer and drier than normal conditions.

Dick and I have lived in our home for over 30 years. We have never been evacuated…until last week. A brush fire in Burning Tree torched 1600 acres. A dry wind with gusts up to 40 mph helped fan the flames. Of concern, were the homes to the north of the fire (that included us). Because of the wind, 8,500 homes were evacuated.

Both Dick and I work from home. It didn’t really occur to me that Dick might be home alone during an evacuation, but he was. I was in town having my hair cut. When I was paying my bill, I noticed that Dick had called me TWICE.

Returning his calls, Dick informed me of the evacuation of our development and wanted to know what I thought he should take in the car. Now, the fire was close enough to be of a concern, but it wasn’t directly by our house, so he has some time. It got me thinking about how we could be more efficient, especially if only one of us is home during an evacuation.

Our recent fire evacuation made it very clear we needed to tweak our emergency plans. Where will you meet, if you are not all at home and you can’t go home? Every family should have a designated place to meet.

If you have time to grab only one thing as you evacuate your home, a Go Bag would hold items for spending the night away from home. You may want a bag for each family member, or perhaps, just a change of underwear for each person in one bag. Following are suggestions for your Go Bag.

Build Your Own Go Bag
Cash ($100 in small denominations)
Change of clothes (at least a change of underwear for everyone)
Warm hat & gloves
Washcloth
Toiletries (soap, toothbrush and paste, etc.)
Band-Aids
Rain Poncho
Flashlight & Batteries
Whistle
Dust mask
Blanket
Extra glasses
Extra keys
Sanitary wipes
Photos of family & pets (this is helpful if you can’t find family members)
Medications
Radio
Pepper Spray
Deck of Cards

If you have a baby, keep diapers, a bottle, and other necessary items packed in a diaper bag. Grab it along with your Go Bag.

My next blog, Emergency Evacuation, will cover how to think through what to “save” in an emergency.

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