Analysis December 2017 – Southern California Fires
If we take a break from the Holiday Season, there are several on going events that a Prepper should be reflecting on.
We will start with the fires in Southern California. Last information I saw indicated that the fires may have started in a homeless camp and then spread due to dry conditions and high winds. The local authorities sent out a huge SMS warning via smart phones (to an estimated 3 million users) notifying them of the risks and in some cases the order to evacuate. The bottom line is many people had to load up their vehicles in a hurry and “bug out.” While the circumstances are very different from Hurricane Harvey (in this case it was wind and fire not wind and water), the effect on people was the same – you are bugging out. I even saw several celebrities tweeting about having to grab a bag and leave their mansions.
You can review our discussion of Hurrican Harvey here:
Or you can refer to our article “Should I Stay or Should I Go” here:
On the plus side, the fires are localized as opposed to nationwide, which means bugging out can get you out of the affected area and that when you can return, you can expect that utilities and normal services will resume as the area re-builds.
You should have warning that the fire is threatening your area – you might get an SMS from local authorities on your cell phone, you can listen to local news or emergency broadcasts on your hand-crank or solar powered radio, or you might see emergency services going through your neighborhood with the evacuation orders.
On the con side, if the fire sweeps through your area, you may have just lost your home and all earthly possessions that you were not able to take with you. So making sure you took things that were irreplaceable is a key factor in your post disaster recovery.
Preparation - fore-warned is fore-armed.
- In this case, you want to sweep through your house and gather up those things that are invaluable to you and your family. Don’t wait until you have to evacuate to do this – you should have a list of things that you know in advance you want to take with you. In this case, if you are under time pressure to move, you will not miss something in your sweep.
- Volume – while getting out with your life is the most important thing, the amount of stuff you can take depends on the amount of space in your vehicles. If you live in an area where fires can occur, you might want to invest in a small pull behind trailer. There will be trade-offs – volume, weight, and value (sentimental and monetary).
- Electronics – a lot of your pictures and memorabilia should have digital back up, not to mention critical documents, make sure you grab those disk drives where you have this data stored or backed up.
- Jewelry – small and valuable, no reason to leave these in a fire safe. I assume they are mostly stored in one place like a jewelry box so you should be able to grab them quickly.
- Documents – birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports and other ID you don’t carry in your wallet. These probably are normally in your fire safe. Simply open it up and grab the docs.
- Guns and ammo – we saw that Florida granted everyone a defacto conceal and carry permit during the hurricane evacuations. Other states might now be so rational but if you are evacuating with your valuables, you should be able to defend yourself if some shady characters seek to prey on evacuees.
- Your 3-day bug-out bag – should have everything you need to live for three days on the road or the trail. Some food and water, spare clothes, your sleep kit and possible some shelter, medical and hygiene essentials. If lots of people are evacuating, hotels with vacancies might be hard to find…
- Car gassed up and ready to go? Take stock of your last minute preparations and see if there are things you want to do now so you won’t have to scramble in the future.
- What additional supplies do you need if the evacuation keeps you away from home for more than three days? (think shelter, sustenance, defense, medical). This could be as simple as extra cash or credit cards with available balances. But take advantage of your vehicle’s ability to carry more things.
- What else do you need to take with you / can’t be replaced? Don’t forget Fluffy and Fido!
- Review what steps you need to take to stay safe on the road, review what routes you have available to move to safety
- Monitor conditions to determine if and when you begin to move (are you trying to get ahead of the mob?). Remember that the longer you wait, the more likely that road conditions could become clogged and your evacuation gets stalled exposing you and yours to risks while on the road.
- Final load up, final check of the home (everything is turned off, everything is locked up)
- Move to a safe area (safe haven) and wait for the crisis to pass
- Spend quality time with the family (might want to include some cards, some books, or some board games, or you can just stare at each other…).
- Return when conditions permit
- Repair damage, rebuild, restock
Ok, now let’s switch over to the American Society of Preppers and to the situation that makes me lose sleep at night – North Korea.
De Oppresso Liber