Preparing for Evacuation: Advice & Your Experiences

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ScienceChic created the topic: Preparing for Evacuation: Advice & Your Experiences 05 Apr 2012 12:52 #1

So I thought this would be a perfect time, in light of the conversation occurring in the Smoke on Foxton Rd./Lower North Fork Fire thread , to start a thread gathering in one place what those of you who have been evacuated, or had to prepare to evacuate, did to get ready, what you learned because of that process and wish you had done/grabbed and have now done since, and advice you'd offer for anyone living here now, or thinking of moving here.

One of my really good friends lives in Boulder and she had to evacuate during the Fourmile Canyon Fire. She was before, but is now really actively involved, in helping the fire department as a volunteer - she's a member of their Third Arm Volunteer Organization. It is her job to keep an updated list of any residents in her assigned area who are mobility challenged and would require assistance to evacuate in an emergency, and to start the phone tree that they have if they are called to action. She helps coordinate getting those who need assistance out of their homes, has photocopies of evacuation routes, and back-up evacuation routes if the primary one is blocked, and does much more. Residents who need assistance just fill out a form and send it to the fire department and can go off and on the list as they necessary based on their circumstances. I think it would be great if we established something like this in our area! If Mrs. Appel had registered with this sort of group, then maybe someone would've proactively gone and helped her out of her home because they knew she was impaired due to chemo treatments and would need assistance. We all have neighbors with pets who work far from home, do you have an evac plan shared with each other, phone numbers to contact one another, or designated meet-up place? There's so much we can start doing for ourselves. I think it's high time we coordinate. As Becky said:

A shout out to Janet Shown. Is it time to revisit or re-establishing MCVOAD?


http://www.bouldermountainfire.org/thirdarm-about

The BMFPD Third Arm was established in 2006. It is a neighborhood volunteer organization as are the other two “arms” of the BMFPD: Fire/Medical Responders and the Auxiliary.

The need for the Third Arm became clear during the March 2006 Sunshine Canyon Fire, when firefighters were utilized to direct traffic and conduct door-to-door evacuation notifications, rather than being deployed to fight fires.

The Third Arm was established to assist the BMFPD in the following activities (It should be noted that not all areas of activity are fully staffed and operational):

Phone Tree Support
Traffic Management
Database Collection and Management
Emergency Evacuation Assistance
Companion Animal Rescue Assistance
Help Coordination

All Third Arm volunteers are required to submit to a background check. Once volunteers agree to serve they receive classroom and field training, appropriate safety equipment, and access to broader training as appropriate.


Some of her notes for me:
Boulder Mtn Fire. Org special needs list for fire info
Who is special needs?
Any medical impairment
Difficulty driving
Difficulty rounding up your small pets for evacuation
Temporary visitors of residents who may have special needs
Surgery that causes need

Maps of evacuation routes - many of our roads are dead-ends, but some are not. Do you know all of the ways to vacate your neighborhood and larger area if you can't go the way you normally would?

Things to do before evacuating:
Turn on outside light(s) so emergency crew can drive by and see there's power
Disconnect propane grill tank move away from home, move any other flammable item away
Have well marked address sign at end of driveway

When an evac is ordered:
Form a "POD" - group of neighbors who agree to provide mutual assistance in case of evac or emergency

Good for when you aren't home, and can't get back, and someone else needs to evac pets/valuables from your home for you

Insurance:
Make sure that replacing septic system is included in current coverage
"Contents" coverage includes ALL home furnishings - built-ins, cabinets, bath fixtures, etc. Take video/pictures of every item in every room, include copies of purchase receipts documenting what you paid for them. Burn a CD of all that info and keep a copy in a safe deposit box, fire safe, with a relative, or other location not at home.
Contents coverage should be based on replacement cost


This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what to do/how to prepare. DSV has a ton of great info: http://www.disastersupportvolunteers.com/
I've got a bunch more links to other helpful resources, but I'd like to hear from those of you who have gone through this first-hand. What did you do to prepare, what didn't you do that you wish you had, what advice do you offer those moving here? I recall from the interview with Dawn Smith and Janet Shown on CPR that many people moving up here are more concerned about wildlife than fires - how do we impress upon them the seriousness of this issue?


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akilina replied the topic: Preparing for Evacuation: Advice & Your Experiences 05 Apr 2012 15:40 #2

Thanks for the links. Well I know where the roads are so why do I need maps. Didn't consider that having maps would be useful for other family who might not be so familiar if they were up here visiting or helping.

After seeing the video of family who barely made it out of the Lower North Fork fire, I think I will take family in the truck and have them wear some really dark sunglasses or maybe when it is foggy (or any other suggestions?) that limit their vision and have them guide me out. Do it several times as I am sure everything looks a whole lot different when smoky. I think we will also take some walks when dusk or dark and get familiar with several different footpaths out considering there is only one road out and it might not be passable.

Thanks to the youngster who made that video and got it posted. Seeing a real life event makes me realize how much family is relying on me or others and they need to be able to rely on themselves if necessary.


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LOL replied the topic: Preparing for Evacuation: Advice & Your Experiences 05 Apr 2012 16:21 #3

Just curious why you would have to replace your septic system? Is this common after a fire?

Insurance:
Make sure that replacing septic system is included in current coverage


Any insurance experts here? I also wonder if you can take the insurance money and not rebuild. In some cases I'm not sure I want to rebuild on a burned out area.


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Hoot Owl replied the topic: Preparing for Evacuation: Advice & Your Experiences 05 Apr 2012 18:46 #4

I am curious also. The risers might melt but, other than that, I dont get it.

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mtntrekker replied the topic: Preparing for Evacuation: Advice & Your Experiences 05 Apr 2012 19:15 #5

Explosion from methane?

I don't know of any septic replacements for homes that burned in Hi Meadow nor from the Snaking fire.


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jf1acai replied the topic: Preparing for Evacuation: Advice & Your Experiences 05 Apr 2012 20:44 #6

SC, I agree with your OP. This is why Mountain Communities Disaster Council (MCDC), and DSV were created, as a result of the summer of 2002.

Unfortunately, people have short memories. A few years with no 'disasters', and interest/participation declines to zero. MCDC was reorganized as Mountain Communities Voluntary Organizations Active In Disaster (MCVOAD) in 2004, and finally abandoned in 2008 due to lack of interest.

DSV has held on, and the few remaining volunteers are in the process of creating a new website , and trying to get the idea revitalized. We will hang on as long as there are any of us left, but we could certainly use help!

Perhaps, rather than inventing a new wheel, you might be interested in helping to put some air into one that is still rolling?

I think the only way this can really work is if the entire community gets behind and works as one organization for the good of the entire community.


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HappyCamper replied the topic: Preparing for Evacuation: Advice & Your Experiences 05 Apr 2012 21:13 #7

Having had a house burn (not to the ground) the insurance companies prorate you to death for any item that is not 2 years old or newer.

They do consider antiques but those need to be 100 years or older.

It hind sight keep a hold of your receipts and if you do video make sure you video makes and models of things like your TV's and other appliances.

We were able to sift through our home and get an idea but would love for someone who has gone through a total loss to post and tell us how that is handled. This would sure help me be prepared.

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otisptoadwater replied the topic: Preparing for Evacuation: Advice & Your Experiences 05 Apr 2012 21:22 #8

So far I have not had to deal with the insurance companies, the cave has been spared from fire up to today. I'd be a liar if I claimed I wasn't worried about fires this summer or any time in the future, it's just a condition of living where we do. Red flag warnings in April is not a good thing and I really hope we get one last blast of Winter, a soggy spring, and the normal afternoon summer thunderstorm everyday beginning at 1400 and ending sometime around 2000, taking the daily high temps down to something everyone can endure.

Looking back at the Hayman fire I had neighbors and family that all agreed to take on various responsibilities and act as a team when the fire got big and was headed our way. When the fire got closer many of the neighbors packed up and bugged out, I can't say I blame them either. Post fire everyone came home and the "team" was back in place...

My advice is to prepare to take care of yourself and your kin first. I have neighbors I wouldn't hesitate to help and support in an emergency but I don't know if they have the ability, resources, or commitment to return the favor. Prepare for and expect the worst, when it happens take advantage of your plans and resources instead of hoping your neighbors have your back. Help those in need where you can and help your neighbors as much as you can during emergencies but find a balance; remember you and yours need to survive too.


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