Reflecting on My Lack of Forest Fire Preparedness – Sicamous Eagle Valley News
With the heatwave we are in now, I reflected on my lack of forest fire preparedness.
It might be common for people not to want to contemplate life’s worst scenarios, let alone prepare for them, but as I get older I feel a growing sense of urgency towards such things.
And, as the mercury climbs to 41 ° C – hotter than it ever was in August 1998 in Salmon Arm when a wildfire forced people to evacuate their homes – the idea of preparing is starting to make sense.
Not having an expert-designed escape guide in front of me, I figured I would find mine to start (just for me as my family is away) and then see how they stack up against each other.
People often say that the first thing they would grab in the event of a fire are animals and photos. OKAY. Animal carrier: to be verified. Back up the drive with photos: check. Guess I’ll need some cat food too. And a cat dish. And a bottle of water. You probably want to pack a small amount of clothing. Maybe toiletries: toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet paper, etc. Cell phone and charger. Camera and charger (for work and because). Maybe a game, like a Uno card game, to kill time. And maybe some granola bars.
Done and done.
Okay, let’s see what the experts advise: face masks. (OK, I missed that.) Glasses. (Yeah, that would help.) Three days of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person. (Holy cow, do I even have this in the pantry?) Prescriptions and medications. (Oops.) Flashlight. (Does the light on the cell phone count?) Copies of important documents, birth certificates, etc. (Oops again.) A card. (See cell phone.) There are a variety of other things that I haven’t considered, not just what to take, but also what to do. For example, a checklist created for the Salt Spring Island Emergency Program advises keeping your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full throughout a fire season. When evacuating, extinguish all pilot lights and shut off propane or gas tanks.
There are various forest fire escape resources online that offer lots of little things to consider – little things that can quickly add up and overwhelm you when trying to get out as quickly as possible.
I’m sure there are other more entertaining things I could do than wrap a box of food and a bag of clothes which in all likelihood will just collect dust. But I guess it’s better to be prepared now and panic less later.
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