Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lessons From The Colorado Wildfires

SurvivalBlog.com has printed several stories from people affected by the Colorado forrest fires last month. For example, here's a great personal account that I'll summarize, http://www.survivalblog.com/2012/06/letter-re-lessons-from-the-colorado-wildfires.html
My house is (was?) within about five miles of the starting point of the fire.  ... I got my pile of "definitely going with me" stuff by the garage door on Saturday night.  ...  
Lesson #1 - partly organized isn't ready for full-scale, fast evac. To do that, I'd have needed duplicate things already packed and ready to go. For example, duplicate toiletries so you have the set you use and the set that's ready to go. ...
 
I was away from home last evening as the fire raged on. On my way home, ...  It was a traffic fiasco.  ... the police blockades and gawkers stopped by the side of the road made it much more difficult than anticipated.  ...
Lesson #2: During a large scale evacuation, expect traffic to be a mess no matter which direction you're [going].  ...
Lesson #3: Since some things can't easily (or affordably) be duplicated, make sure they can be evacuated quickly.  [like computers]
 
...
Now I had to figure out one of my biggest challenges - surprisingly so: How to move both packed cars with cats and dog and the most valuable things in my life in them!  ...
 
Lesson #4: Having one person and two cars and no backup doesn't work all that well in evac mode. ...
Lesson #5: The process of evacuation is a process of "letting go". Specifically saying, "I can live without that." Knowing in a very black and white way, that you may literally NEVER SEE IT AGAIN.   
... as I drove to the retreat, I heard the mandatory evacuation notice for my area on the radio. I still had to hope the police would let me back in to get the other car.
Lesson #6: The media is both good and bad in this situation. The bad: mostly, they repeat the same information over and over - obtained from the press briefings at 8 am and 4 pm. Not very helpful. 
Lesson #[7]: The last lesson came when I started getting ready for bed and this morning. I hadn't brought everything I really wanted! For example, I forgot to get my razor from the shower into my toiletries bag. And a pair of shorts for sleeping in. Oh, and I snagged a fingernail in moving stuff and didn't bring my fingernail clippers. I know, all small stuff, but it's a bummer to not have it when putting aside extras would have been so easy.
And now I get wait and wonder if I'll ever move back into my house. And even the television news can't tell me that...

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