Potential fire evacuation - lessons learned

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Imasham, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. Imasham

    Imasham Monkey

    As some may know my family recently was faced with potentially having to evacuate from my town due to a forest fire. Luckily this did not occur although it was very close. My wife and I have written evacuation procedures that were helpful to have as often you may become too emotional to think clearly.

    Although we had a plan our lessons learned review did note some holes.

    1) We have bug-out bags packed but over time some items got borrowed and were not returned in a timely manner. As a result we had to go looking for some items.
    2) We usually attempt to always have at least 1/2 tank of gas in the car but this time we did not. Had we needed to evacuate there may have been long lines at the four gas stations...if in fact the stations were open.
    3) Our cell phones were not fully charged.
    4) Our main destination in this case would have been to go to a larger metro area 45 minutes away and stay in a hotel. However, our emergency cooking method was not practical for such a place.

    Details and Solutions:
    1) We need to either get better at putting any borrowed items back or invest in duplicates of items such that we never have to borrow from our BOBs. We are mindful that some items can be expensive to have duplicates of but it is better to have them then trying to find them if we had in fact needed to go.
    2) This was a case of inattentiveness and usually we always have enough gas. We will strive to remedy our inattentiveness but to help mitigate the situation I opened an account at a cardlock gas station that has pumps available 24 hours so we are less dependent on a gas station needing to be open.
    3) We have a typical place where we keep our wallets and keys and need a place to do this for our phones so that they are always charging when not in use.
    4) Staying in a hotel would have been a reasonable solution for us but to help keep costs down we would have utilized our emergency cooking supplies tote which has a small gas stove, some fuel along with other items. We realized though that using a stove that burns fuel is not practical (and possibly not legal) in a hotel with windows that may not open. We are in the process of acquiring a portable electric hot plate type stove which we'll keep in our emergency tote in case where we evacuate to has power to use.

    Overall I think we did fairly well and I also noted some successes:
    1) All of the photos we take are digital so everything is kept electronically. We often get physical family yearbooks made but an electronic version is kept at the time we create the book on-line so we always have backup copies.
    2) Critical family documents, insurance policies, certificates, etc. etc. are already scanned and we make any updates once a year.
    3) We have a complete home inventory of our appliances, electronics, etc. and have photos of everything in our bookshelves, on our walls, etc.
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Or instead of a Hotel/Motel you might look for an Extended Stay Place, or Suite, that has a Kitchenette in each unit... and then have A 72 Hour Packaged Meal Plan in the Transport... Then you have Three days to re supply, at your destination....
  3. Imasham

    Imasham Monkey

    I didn't mention it as it wasn't a hole in our plan but besides our cooking tote we have several food totes also in place so we were good for meals. A kitchenette would obviously have been ideal but since we can't guarantee that we would get a room with one (since many hundreds of evacuees may hit the city at the same time) we need to be ready with an alternative.
  4. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Great thread @Imasham !! Nothing like a potential emergency to force you to evaluate your preparedness. ;)
    I have a couple of comments noted below. Lessons learned are a great way to get better everyday!! [chopper]
    Check this thread out for some ideas on portable charging/comms and such......
    Portable Communications Kit | Survival Monkey Forums
  5. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    What kind of vehicles do you have?
    sec_monkey and Seepalaces like this.
  6. Imasham

    Imasham Monkey

    @Yard Dart The food tote I referred to in my reply to @BTPost has approximately a 10 day supply of meals that don't need cooking, eg. soups, chilis, stews, crackers, etc. Also, my solar panel for my portable battery pack just arrived! Extra power cords for my car are a good idea.

    @oil pan 4 I have a Ford Focus currently.
  7. Seepalaces

    Seepalaces Monkey+++

    This is a great topic. Thank you for posting.
    Sgt Nambu, sec_monkey and Motomom34 like this.
  8. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    All our cars have trailer hitches so we can get out of town if we need to with a lot more than what will fit in a car.
    Sgt Nambu and sec_monkey like this.
  9. Imasham

    Imasham Monkey

    I am moving in that direction as well. I own a tent trailer but my 2009 Ford Focus can't tow anything. I borrow my father-in-law's truck when I take the trailer on vacation with my family. When I moved to my current town I had a plan with regards to having another vehicle for towing but unfortunately that fell through. Coming up with a new plan is on my to do list!
    Sgt Nambu and sec_monkey like this.
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Oddly enough, there are some single wheel trailers out there than put zero or near zero loads on the butt of small cars. Here's one mfr, that might have something suitable.
    There are others. Basically, the trailer attaches to the car ridgedly at two points, the entire load is carried by a single caster wheel under the cg (if you load it "right.") There are some downsides ---
    Sgt Nambu and BTPost like this.
  11. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    @Imasham really like this thread. First, what are the items that get borrowed from your bags and not returned? Ours bags are always missing the multi-tool and flash lights.

    I think you could have used your stove in the parking lot of the hotel.
    Sgt Nambu and Seepalaces like this.
  12. Imasham

    Imasham Monkey

    I certainly could have cooked in the hotel parking lot but I just wouldn't want to. Especially if the evacuation came in January instead of September!

    Like you the multi-tool gets borrowed a lot from my BOB. Having duplicates is doable but expensive. My wife and I have separate, but nearly duplicate, BOBs. We do this because a situation could come up where my wife has to evacuate while I am not there. Thus we already have some items duplicated so having a multi-tool, for example, that I don't borrow means I now need to own three sets. One thing each of my wife's and my BOB is going to have, but doesn't yet, is a handheld ham radio (I've decided on a Baofeng F8HP) so if we never borrow from our BOB then I need two of them in my BOB and another two to have available at other times plus batteries and chargers.

    While I definitely understand why someone would have a "never borrow from the BOB" rule, I need to carefully weigh that against using a limited amount of money to purchase duplicate items. The more money I spend on duplicate items means the less I have to spend getting the first of something else. Until I have more disposable income I need to borrow.
  13. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    That's what they told me with my wife's hyundai.
    U-haul said "ifits got 2 tail pipes there isn't a hitch for it"
    Me: " hold my beer"

    Long story short I made one out of 3 inch wide, 8mm thick structural steel.

    Over seas all but the shittiest flimsiest cars are used to tow. I'm sure the Ford focus has something, it's just not sold in US markets.

    I bet if you look up under there there are hitch attachment points.

    My wife's hyundai and my firebird both have hitches. And the suburban obviously.
    Sgt Nambu, sec_monkey and Seepalaces like this.
  14. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu RIP 4/19/2018

    You looked, you saw, you are conquering! Great thread, Imasham! Even with missing items you are well enough set up that you could have managed. I'm old, so I never have to borrow items from where they belong. One of the ways I got there was buying used! Second hand stores are full of multi tools of moderate/decent quality, dirt cheap. The same for most other items! Again, good job!
    Motomom34, Yard Dart and Seepalaces like this.
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