This has been a helluva week for my family & friends in Northern California. Wildfires have consumed massive parts of Napa and Sonoma counties. As many of you know, I lived in Sonoma County for more than 25 years! And, watching all of this mayhem and devastation from the safety of North Carolina is causing much worry and fretting on my part.
In fact, at this point in time, I don't even know if the home I lived in in the Sonoma Valley is even standing. The area was under mandatory evacuation orders and that's the last I heard.
The good news, all of my family members in Sonoma County have not been burned out. They have their cars packed and are ready to go at a moment’s notice, but so far no evacuation orders. But some of them have left the area anyway because they can't breathe due to the heavy, unrelenting smoke.
The point of this post is this…. We don't know what mayhem may come our way. We don't know how quickly we will have to respond. I know a lot of people think some massive emergency won't happen to them, but you don't know that. Ask the folks who lived in Coffey Park in Santa Rosa. Having their lives threatened and their home destroyed by a wildfire wasn't even on their radar.
Please take a few minutes to put some items together. I have a bright pink plastic file box that is our “go” box. Our passports and social security cards are in this box. Birth and death certificates are in this box. Cash, in small bills, is in this box. The pets’ shot records are in this box. Whatever paperwork is important to you and your family and will be needed to reestablish your life should be in this box or in a remote safe place — safety deposit box at the bank or with a relative who lives out of the area.
Make a list of items you want to take with you…computers, phones, chargers, durable shoes, a change of clothing or, at least, underwear. A list to refer to in a time of panic will help get you packed and out of the area in a timely manner.
Now about those sentimental items. You need to really think about what you would want to be in your car taking up valuable space. Remember most of what we own is just stuff that can be replaced. Grab the photo albums. In my case, I would grab all the quilts my sister made for me. But that's about it. I need all available car space for my family and my pets.
Oh, by the way, speaking of pets, if you have small pets (small dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, etc.) make sure you have a carrier for each animal. If your home is threatened but you are not evacuating yet, keep those pets inside. If you need to go, you don't want to leave your cat behind because it was outside and now you can't find it.
We just signed up with our county sheriff’s office for text alerts on our cell phones. This is not automatic. Please google your county sheriff cell phone notification system and sign up. It could save your life.
Keep your thoughts and prayers going for all those beings in California who are impacted by this horrific disaster. They will need our help in the days, weeks and months to come.
Thanks for stopping by,