The Pacific Northwest is under attack with wildfires… Are you and your family affected? We are… We've had 3 months+ with no rain and extreme heat. It is beyond dry and we are living in an unsafe tinder box. All it would take is one fool to drop a cigarette, a lightning bolt, a spark from a chainsaw, a hot muffler in the dry grass… There are thousands of firefighters giving it all for Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Montana and surrounding states… Firefighters have flown in from Alaska, Australia… Our military is being trained to fight the fires and people are volunteering. This is not something to take lightly!
On the 13th of August, lightning struck an area 40 minutes from us. Although the fire was far enough away, it was also way too close. Fires move FAST, especially if there is wind pushing it and we had a lot of wind for several days. If you are on Facebook, here is a link to the 1910 fires that burned 2 million acres in just 2 days. If this fire jumped the ridge of the mountain it would be heading toward several towns with many people. It was definitely a concern. The fire was contained on the 20th and due to heavy heavy winds the following two days the fire was reignited. As of today, the fire is contained, but there are fires EVERYWHERE and SO many people are affected!
It is some very scary times in many of the western states. I wanted to take the time today to cover a couple of things and help you to be prepared if you are affected. If you are not affected right now, please read over this and make some mental notes to keep for future reference.
Earlier in the month, before the fire started, we started making two lists. The first list was comprised of what we would take if we only had 15 minutes to gather things and evacuate. The second list was comprised of all the things we would need to setup camp, rebuild from the ground up and exist in the wilds without a home. When we found out the fire was as close as it was, we began getting our trailers pulled around and began getting all our essentials on the second list ready and even loaded on the trailer. Our home looks like we are either moving out or just moved in. I enjoy organization and because I work from home it is nice to be clear of clutter so it is a bit crazy here, but honestly it is not really a concern at this point and the items that we felt held a lot of value previously, currently hold little or no value to us at all.
You quickly realize what truly matters most and that is our family!
So with that in mind, let's talk about somethings….
First and foremost, if you are in a state that currently has forest fires or wild fires burning, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be aware of where those fires are. Contact your local county officials and find out how you can keep up with the progress of the fires in your state.
Here in Idaho we have a website http://idahofireinfo.blogspot.com to which keeps us updated daily on the varying fires that are burning. Our local area has a phone number that we can call for updates and also for evacuation details and yesterday I located a number that I could text to be notified if there were evacuations in our zip code! I CAN NOT express this enough. We may not leave our home very often, but we surely want to know what is going on around us. The Mountain Boy and I went out for feed the other day and we ran into many people that lived closer to the burning fires than we did and they had no clue it was even burning!! I would much rather be prepared and considered a freak for being prepared than taking the chance of being incinerated. So stay on top of things and be aware!!
Also most of Idaho was issued an alert today for hazardous air conditions, please be sure to read up on how this can affect you and the precautions necessary for you with these air quality guidelines (http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=pubs.aqguidepart) . Remember smoke can take you before fire so please think of all aspects of your health and families well-being.
Next create your lists and have plans put in place for different scenarios.
If the Mountain Man is off working on a project for someone and we need to evacuate, we have a plan in place and he knows where he can find us. We have a plan in place and a location for refuge if we are evacuated thanks to dear friend's of ours in Washington. Now keep in mind when planning to not just have a plan A, but also a plan B and even C. Suppose our initial plan A location was under fire, if we did not have a plan B or C, we would have no idea where the other is. Think out of the box and in all honesty – you should have plans in place NOW in the event of natural disasters, fires, etc….
In addition to your plans, if you have elderly or special needs children or individuals, you will want to consider their needs and maybe even get them out of the situation and in a save location prior to an evacuation. Consider all their needs though and have special plans in place for them as well. People with asthma, lung and heart issues among others may not be able to stay in areas with extremely unhealthy and hazardous air quality so keep this in mind as well.
Please follow the safety instructions that are given to you by your county or state. When the air quality is hazardous it is recommended that your time outdoors is limited. If you need to be outside, protect your lungs.
Consider your pets in these conditions also. If you are able to take your pets with you, be sure to have food, bowls, beds, leashes and collars. In conditions that are scary to you, they will also be scary for your pets. They will first sense your escalated stress levels and dependent on conditions may freak out. Be sure to collar and leash them so you can keep control over them.
Next let's talk about those lists….
What were the first things that came to mind? Was it some of your most valuable possessions or was it food, water, clothing, a means of making a shelter…
Sure there may be some things that are of great value to you and maybe some of those things can be taken along, but the first things you should be thinking of are the essentials.
If you need to leave in short order, here is a list of some of the critical things you would want to grab given you have the time (REMEMBER FAMILY IS MOST IMPORTANT):
* Important Documents
* Food and Water
* Extra Clothing
* Sleeping Bags and Wool Blankets
* Tent or Tarp
If you have time to prepare, below is the list of things we have formulated into our essentials list:
* Important Documents
* Food and Water
* Extra Clothing
* Extra Shoes
* Sleeping Bags and Wool Blankets
* Tent or Tarp
* Reusable Space Blanket
* Survival Pack (including something to cook your food and heat water)
* First Aid Kit (Herbals & Essential Oils too)
* Chainsaw, Axe, Digging Bar, Shovel
* Come-A-Long, Chains, Tow Ropes
* Food, bowls, beds and leashes for your pets
* Paracord, mule tape, bank line
Staying hydrated all the time is important, but even more so in these situations. We carry wide mouth stainless steel water bottles with us on our person where ever we go. We carry those for a reason, you can place this bottle in a fire and boil water to drink and with the wide mouth you could also cook your food in this and easily remove it if necessary. These are now available for sale on our website .
We carry on our person daily, paracord in some form or other (I wear a paracord bracelet that the Mountain Boy made me and he sells), a lighter, at least one knife, a firearm and a nonreusable space blanket in our back pocket. These are just the normal gear we carry so our survival packs are a whole different ball game.
Now those would be the essentials, but being we were thinking long term we thought of things like all our tools to rebuild, our trapping and hunting gear, our firearms and equipment, our winter gear, a small bag with all my business equipment and essentials to maintain my business, a kitchen tote with all our cast iron, 4 enamelware plates, cups, bowls and utensils and some containers to store leftovers, all our food cache, our generator, our sun ovens, my herbal pantry, all our winter clothing, etc…
Every family is different and your thoughts will be different on what is essential, but you need to think of what will get you and your family by if you are no longer able to stay at your home. So if that means a couple day stay in a hotel room till things are safe or if this is a long term plan like ours is, but you need to really think about this.
We want to be prepared, but Mother Nature is the boss so when you need to get out fast the only thing that is of utmost importance is yourself and your family. Remember everything else is replaceable.
When leaving your home, consider that there may be debris in the roadways. Traveling with a chainsaw or an axe and chains or ropes is a wise idea to be able to quickly remove debris so you can continue to escape. Many were being evacuated with fires on either side of the roadways and in dangerous conditions.
For some of you, you may have homestead animals like we do. They are a GREAT concern for us. Right now we have laying hens, meat rabbits, milk goats and honey bees. It would sicken me to have to leave them behind, but we are not fully equipt to take all of them either. We transported our goats to our homestead initially in large Rubbermaid trashcans with the lids slightly tilted and strapped fast. This is a way to easily get them out as well, but if time is of the essence, PLEASE remember that your family is most important. Leave the pens open and let them escape so they at least have a chance for survival and get your family to safety.
If you were in a situation that you were unable to get out and our prayer is that this never happens to any of you, you could fell trees away from your home in a larger perimeter around your home. Keep the area around your home wet. If you have a body of water near your home you could head in that direction. Getting in the water and covering your heads with a wet blanket will help keep you safer from falling ashes and debris, but this is in a worst case scenario because hypothermia could set in as well. So please heed the warnings to get out when it is time and if you have grave concerns and your gut is telling you way ahead of time to leave and seek a safer location, then by all means do so.
I'd like to ask that you continue to pray for all those affected by the fires, those fighting the fires and for rain! We need rain SO badly. This is something that is heavy on my heart – it worries me greatly when people fail to stay informed or feel they are unaffected by such dangers. Stay safe, stay informed and be prepared! God Bless!
The month of September is National Preparedness Month and this year The Prepared Bloggers are once again bringing you a great 30 day series on how to be better prepared in 2015.
This was one of my contributions and I hope you have enjoyed it. Below you will find all the other contributors and their posts. I highly encourage you to check them out!
P.S. For taking the time to join us and read this post, we would like to extend a 15% discount on everything in our store for National Preparedness Month. After placing your order, just enter NATIONALPREP in the coupon code when completing your order.
September is National Preparedness Month and The Prepared Bloggers are at it again!
It's safe to say that our ultimate goal is to help you have an emergency kit, a family plan, and the knowledge to garden, preserve your harvest and use useful herbs every day – without spending a ton of money to do it. Luckily that’s obtainable for every family and a journey we would love to help you with.
This year we have posts about food storage, 72-hour Kits & Bug Out Bags, and every aspect of preparedness, from water storage to cooking off grid. You’ll also find many ideas to help you be more self-reliant. Look for information on the big giveaway we've put together for later in the month.
Be sure to visit our sites and learn as much as you can about being prepared. We'll be using the hashtag #30DaysOfPrep for these and many other ideas throughout the month of September, so join in the conversation and make 2015 the year you become prepared.
72-Hour Kits or Bug Out Bags
#TrayerWilderness #30DaysOfPrep #NatPrep
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