Prepare for Emergency. Grass with smoke in the background.
Photo by Malachi Brooks on Unsplash

I am not prepared for an emergency! The other day I was on the phone with a friend, and I received an alert of a vegetation fire. I have the app set up to alert me to fires because of several dry fields near me. The street the fire was located on was familiar so when the conversation ended, I looked up the address. It was 3 blocks from my house. I used to think emergency preparation was a good idea but as long as I am okay, the other stuff can be replaced.

Why Prepare for an Emergency

The reality is, replacing all the stuff in your home is expensive, emotional and exhausting. Also, some things are not replaceable, like photographs. If you don’t have insurance papers or needed phone numbers you will have trouble collecting or replacing items.

Luckily, the fire department had all things under control. The local news helicopter was over the fire area. I could watch from home while put out the fire.  This was the first of at least 3 fires that were within a 3-block radius of my house.  We have had several red flag weather alerts, which means it will be hot and windy, not a good time for a fire. 

The last couple of weeks, it has been hot, dry, and windy. The national weather service has issued red flag alert days, multiple days, not the usual one or two days. The month of May is not usually part of our fire season; however, we have not had a lot of rain in the last couple of years. A typical pattern for California. I must admit, I don’t usually worry too much about the high winds and hot weather until it affects me, generally dealing with the smoke.  The grassy fields that are pretty and green in the winter are already brown and dry, perfect fuel for a fire.

How to Prepare for an Emergency

Many property owners rent goats in the Spring to eat down all the grass in preparation for the hot summers. The goats have just started being dispersed around town, so there is still a lot of dry grass. They are cute, but they don’t eat very fast.

Because we are still under a red flag warning, I continue to get alerts of fires. The notifications remind me I need to prepare to evacuate. What does evacuation look like?  If you Google “emergency preparedness” or “evacuation plan”, there is a lot of information on how to prepare for the end of the world.  That information, while interesting, was not helpful. 

The city of Berkley has a good list of reasonable actions to take in case of a fire emergency. The U.S. Federal Government has a website,, that provides excellent information on all sorts of emergencies for which we should be prepared. You may not need to worry about wildfires, but what about a hurricane, tornado, or snow apocalypse.

A public service announcement on TV advises families to be prepared for an emergency. They stress that each person in the family should have a specific role in the plan. That is an excellent idea if you have a family. Since I live alone, I need to make sure all tasks can be completed simply and quickly. I have a lot of work to do. All my important papers are filed in boxes stored under or behind heavy furniture.  Over the next few days I need to:

  • develop an evacuation plan.
  • have all my important papers scanned and available away from my house.
  • keep my computer backed up.
  • have my essential items readily accessible, so I can get them quickly if I need to leave in a hurry.
  • identify a place to go and how to contact my family.

Fun Reasons for Emergency Preparation

Do you need some fun motivation to be prepared. The other day while I was under an alert because the fire was too close to my house, I wanted to go out of town to attend a local event. I took my laptop with me, knowing I could access most of my important documents online or on the hard drive. Had the fire burned my house I would have lost all of my photographs and items that are special to me. I did not tell anyone where I was going or what I was doing, how would they have known I was not home.

The entire time I was at the event, I worried about my property. Had I planned for such an emergency, I could have fully enjoyed the event. If I am out of town when an emergency strikes, I would be completely out of luck. Without a plan there is no way for someone to find the necessary documents for me.

Would you be prepared for an emergency if you needed to evacuate?