I'll forward the discussion along to the thousands of others in a Facebook group facing the same situation.
Grab your homeowner's policy and any small personal items, like wedding rings.
It is cool if you can grab personal hygiene items, but those are relatively easily replaced. Try to take prescription medications. People sometimes wind up seriously ill a week or more after an evacuation event because they don't have their usual drugs and can't readily get more. In some cases, people die a few months later and relatives speculate that it is partly because they couldn't get a steady supply of their usual meds in the weeks afterwards.
Edit: After the fire, when you go back, take photos and call an insurance adjuster immediately. Do this before you try to fix anything or do any clean up. Cleaning up amounts to destroying evidence.
You can hire a public adjuster to file for you. Your broker, lawyer or a public adjuster are essentially the only people that can talk to the insurance company on your behalf.
(Edit: changed private adjuster to the correct term public adjuster)
I would recommend extra changes of underwear and socks, as those are the two bits that will get bad quickly (especially in a hot environment) and can make life pretty miserable with the resulting rashes/fungus.
Before you leave, if you have time, take pictures of your rooms, especially the expensive items (and their serial numbers) as this will make life much easier for insurance claims later on.
There will for sure be people be swooping in like vultures after something like this to try to profit... Not all are bad, but I would just say, be careful.
If you're claiming < $10k and you can live with receiving less back, you may be better off doing it on your own. If you're claiming much more, a (proper, non-scammy) insurance agent is going to multiply your return by an unimaginable amount. The majority of people are getting back less than 50% of their potential insurance payout. It can be worth paying an insurance agent $2000 to get back $30k instead of $10k.
Source: not an insurance agent or anything related; just remembering a Reddit thread where multiple people shared the gap between what they assumed they were eligible for, vs. what an agent squeezed out for them. Normal people don't know how to describe their possessions in proper detail. A decent insurance agent will ensure that what is being replaced is of equivalent value, rather than a bunch of the cheapest generic products.
And your shower curtain, food in the fridge, extension cords and cables, business cards, books that you got as gift but never read, and so on.
Most people have tens of thousands of dollars worth of $5 items in their home. But in the stress of losing your home in a fire, you will forget about all of them unless you have a good walk-through video of the entire place, opening each cupboard and looking under each bed.
I suggest grabbing 1 suit & tie for any legal battles you might face with insurance companies.
(Source: I worked for an insurance company for over five years.)
Like, in 1681 when the "Insurance Office for Houses" was founded, or did you mean the maritime loans from the 4th century BC? Insurance and mutual aid societies have coexisted for literally millenia now, and if you think the latter are better, you're still free to join one (assuming your government doesn't force you into the former). But it's pretty nonsensical to blame capitalism if you don't like the way your insurance company currently operates.
Taking this off topic, but what point is a fire insurance if it can be "maxed out"?
In a small fire it makes sense to look at what exactly was damaged and evaluate the loss, but if a house and all the belongings need to be replaced, then you can calculate that value beforehand, and put that as a reasonable limit to be used for the insurance; I believe you'd agree that if you add a million dollar painting to a half-million dollar house then that would need an adjustment to the insurance policy if you want it to be covered.
Don't forget to take lots of pictures before the fire too.
Good call on the meds op.
If it were me I would pack synthetics in a bag for use after reaching safety, and wear long sleeve shirt, pants, and boots while escaping in a vehicle or worst case on foot.
Given the price of most college and university books, a student could likely get very rich by simply buying used and having those burn if they looked new enough and could be documented as being in the home when the fire occurred.
My only point was if you're a college student you probably aren't going to have the same amount and quality of items that someone more established has.
If you're a college student/low income/young you are likely to have, say, 1-2 bath towels bought from the Dollar Store; if you are more established then you're likely to have a nicer towel set that costs closer to $50. Those small items ($5-$50 each) are going to add up to probably be just as much, if not more, as any one expensive item. Every small thing matters.
Data is easily saved by uploading to cloud storage, preferably more than one service. You should already be doing this, Google Drive is 15GB free, Dropbox is 2GB free. Usually that's enough for the most important documents. Google Photos has unlimited storage as long as your pictures are 16MP or less.
I'll admit that I don't have an overview of my irreplaceable items. Maybe I should do a mental list when I get home today.
A few years back I scanned all of our personal records, tax returns, visas, dog vaccinations etc and created a dedicated Box account with a Google Drive backup. It was a massive undertaking at the time, but now whenever we receive something new it's a pretty painless task to scan it and upload it to cloud storage.
An added bonus is that after years of stockpiling paper we now have virtually no paper records anymore other than the things that absolutely have to be: passports, SSNs, birth certificates etc.
Basically take photos of everything, if just to remember what will be lost so you can list it for the insurance later.
Like this, for example: 'If you said "High-end Toaster, Stainless Steel, Blue glowing power button" ... you might get $35-50 instead [of much less]. We had to match all features that were listed.' I can imagine that someone who has been through an ordeal and just wants to get the claim processed might just say 'toaster', and end up with $7 instead of $50. Multiply that by everything in your house, and you're really coming up short.
Most likely outcome is something like a single "dirty bomb" attack on a city 1500 miles downwind of where I work, unfortunately where a datacenter is located, resulting in me putting in a 36 hour work day trying to bring everything up at a disaster recovery datacenter 1000 miles away from both me and the attack, then on the commute home after 36 hours without sleep, I fall asleep driving and die in the resulting car accident, and my family won't get a penny because "clearly his death was a result of a N.K. act of war". Even worse not only might my family not get a penny WRT death but if anyone can sue anyone for anything, and my liability insurance is cancelled because of "act of war" then my family could end up quite destitute after a multi-car accident.
I wonder how many people had heart attacks watching the 9/11 news coverage a couple decades ago.
Or for any value of american response, a large fraction of the population would be very unhappy with the american response to a nuclear terrorism attack, regardless of the specific response, so my car parked downtown gets set on fire in the riots. That would suck if my car was temporarily uninsured because it was an act of war.
There's a lot of people paid a lot of money to deny insurance claims. See also, medical insurance.
Hmm, looks like it has to be explicitly written into the concept one way or another. For instance, flood insurance or earthquake insurance deliberately include floods or earthquakes (respectively) in the coverage language.
Then prioritize by things that are hard to replace that will give you access to other things. So passport, cash, flash drives, chargers etc. Those should be in your car ready to go.
Also think about how quickly you can get them out of your car (so if you have to transfer at a road block to a rescue vehicle).
Family Radios if you have them, extra batteries, can keep you in touch with your family and responders.
If you happen to have ammunition try to put it somewhere that it won't hurt anyone if it is 'cooked off' by heat. A friend of mine in the sierras keeps his shotgun shells in the root cellar for that reason.
EDIT: The ammo cooking off isn't going to kill anyone but it will startle them. And it can make it harder on fire fighters. So please if you have some, try to insure it won't explode.
Depending on how much time you have and what sort of tools, you can bury things that you don't want to burn. I have heard, but haven't tested, that if you bury something at least 12" below regular soil it will survive the time it takes a fire to move past. If you do it at the start (so the ground is bare on top) then you can avoid having any burning material over the cache.
Wat? Does US law not require ammunition be stored in a gun safe!?
Not saying one shouldn't use proper storage, only that liability probably would not result if you didn't (at least under federal law — as others have noted various states/cities have tighter laws).
On this subject, I'd also seriously recommend that people take advantage of the holes on the bottom, or rear, of your safe. Those are so you can secure the safe to the building.
In my case, all the safes are attached to bolts embedded in both the floor and the walls. The basement room walls are concrete block and the door to the room is made of steel. If you have a sizable collection, or own any firearms that require an NFA tax stamp, your insurance company will probably suggest such things.
But, even if you just have a handgun or Gramp's old shotgun, I'd still recommend keeping ammo stored separately.
In UK you are required to attach the safe to your building. Using those holes is not optional!
I own two firearms capable of fully automatic fire. The law doesn't even require I store them in a safe. I can strap one on and walk down the street, if I really wanted to.
I should try to clarify that I am not a 'gun nut' but I am a 'firearm aficionado.' I belong to no militias, I don't plan on fighting the government, and I don't even belong to the NRA.
I do hunt but mostly I just like to slaughter innocent bits of paper. If threatened, I'm almost certainly not going to shoot anyone. I am not interested in harming anyone.
I was on a rifle and pistol team and later a Marine. I just like shooting stuff and I admire the engineering and art that is firearms.
Sadly, I feel obligated to mention and clarify that. I find 'gun nuts' rather bothersome. They make it more difficult for me to be able to have rational discussions as they prejudice others against firearm ownership - and understandably so. If my only exposure were the reported violence in the news and 'gun nuts,' I'd want to ban them too.
However, I'm a simple collector and much of my collection is because a friend of mine used to be a dealer and he keeps selling his collection to me, piece by piece. I'd rather they sit in my safes where I know they will be preserved. I have pieces I've never fired and never will.
But, yeah... We don't actually even have to have them in a safe. I also live in a very, very rural area where they are tools and not toys. I don't think I know any local people who don't have a firearm.
It's pretty different than what you're probably used to.
I am not a 'gun control nut', but I am a 'not getting shot aficionado.'
People seem to have forgotten that rights come with obligations. Because of this, it seems the law may need to be used as a tool to enforce those regulations.
I don't have any complaints about a specific type of firearm being owned by a private person. In fact, I have no problem with the idea of making more modern fully automatic firearms available for ownership.
People forget that their right to bear arms comes with an obligation to do so reasonably. I think it is reasonable for ownership of a firearm to require demonstrated proficiency in the use, care, maintanence, and safe storage - for each specific firearm. Not just for each type, but for each one owned.
To own a firearm, you should be able to demonstrate safe use, knowledge about keeping it in functional condition, have a reasonable safe storage system, and you should be able to account for it at all times. This means mandatory notice of sale, including checks to ensure the buyer can lawfully posess a firearm, proper bills of sale, and mandated notification of loss, due to things like theft or accident.
There should be an exception for antiques and firearms that are not safe to fire but kept for collection, things like that.
It is notable that I live in a State that actually, a couple of years ago, removed the need for a permit to carry a concealed firearm. Yup... We straight up removed the requirement to have a permit. This hasn't resulted in a rise in firearm deaths or crimes involving firearms. This hasn't actually resulted in the predicted bloodbaths. Crime is still trending downwards and there has been no increase in violent crimes involving firearms.
That's probably due to the mentality here. They are tools. We use them to hunt, protect our livestock, or to remove dangerous pests that are disease vectors. They aren't special, they are something you'll find in most homes.
I don't expect you to change your views based on a forum post, but I do ask that you give serious thought to taking away liberties from lawful people because you're afraid. Fear is a powerful motivator, after all.
If you're curious, I'd absolutely hand in my firearms if the government were rounding them up. I'd also help you load my stolen possessions instead of trying to harm you. I'm pretty much the definition of responsible firearm owner - as are the majority of firearm owners.
It's not even about defense from tyranny or any of that crap. Nah... It's about enjoying them and about eating. I personally kill and process almost every bit of meat that I eat. I don't have to, but I appreciate doing so. I don't even always use a firearm to do so. This year, I'll harvest my deer during archery season.
Given that I own an obscene number of acres, the odds of my harming you approach zero. If you take away someone else's rights, you'll have taken away mine. So, I ask that you do be careful when you consider what liberties are worth conceding before deciding what routes you support.
Me? I support reasonable restrictions based on individual assessment and demonstrated competency. It will add to the expense, but I feel the additional expense is worth it in exchange for keeping my rights.
Err... Sorry for the novella? I felt obligated to ensure I was clear. The whole debate is pretty muddy and it's difficult to find people who are reasonable. Most vocal people seem to be wildly at one end of the spectrum or the other and both sides appear to envision caricatures of the folks on the opposite side of the debate.
Had I not been enlisted with the goal of paying for my education, I may have made that choice. I really enjoy the wanton slaughter of innocent bits of paper. If I'm feeling particularly cruel, I'll put a bunch of bits of paper out there and make them watch.
I'm sure that makes me a monster to some people but I'm pretty harmless. Some people should not own firearms. That should be addressed. I don't think that should impact my liberties, however.
If keeping my rights is a fixation, I'll wear that badge.
Also, the US isn't that armed, compared to some other countries. We are fond of killing each other, so there's that. I suspect that is a bigger problem than the tool used to do it.
If you ever get to this side of the pond, feel free to look me up. I'll teach you how to safely put rounds down range and on target. After that, it is all on you to improve your skill.
Wikipedia would disagree with you there. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estimated_number_of_guns_per_c...
You don't sound like a "gun nut", but I have to question anyone who can't acknowledge that America is way more obsessed about owning guns than the rest of the planet.
About 22% of the population owns a firearm. However, about 3% of us own 50% of the firearms.
In other words, the number is accurate but misleading. Here is some recent data:
My collection is a bit more than 300 individual, complete, firearms.
Second, your link is only small arms in civilian hands and doesn't account for inaccurate reporting. Go to somewhere like, say, Somalia and I can assure you that you'll see the numbers are misleading. Then again, when a local militia counts as military, that tends to really make the whole civilian part moot.
We are pretty obsessed. We aren't more obsessed than anywhere else on the planet. There are places on this planet where failure to own a firearm means you're a very, very vulnerable person.
We can skip the histrionics and have a real conversation, if you'd like. Taking a simple statistic and extrapolating it to mean something quite different isn't very productive.
Additionally, the data is from 2007 and has some noted caveats on your linked page.
If you want a meaningful statistic, and I can't find one to cite, then the percentage of civilians who own firearms is much more significant than the total number. While I do own quite a few, I can't really effectively use more than one at a time. It isn't really like the movies.
In the US, 22% of us own firearms. That is it. 3% of us own half of the firearms. I have enough for, oh, 300 people, give or take.
Wikipedia and Google aren't that helpful, but I strongly suspect more than 1/5 the people in Somalia own firearms. Furthermore, I strongly suspect that they are far more likely to carry those firearms.
I pick Somalia only to have a good example of why statistics are able to be horribly misleading. We do love our firearms, but I'm going to have to argue the bit about the 'rest of the planet.'
I will happily concede that we have an unhealthy firearm culture. I will happily concede that we are obsessed to an unhealthy degree. I will happily concede that we need to make changes. I will happily concede that some people shouldn't own firearms.
We don't need hyperbole to get those concessions.
Now, what is your concern and how can I help address that beyond what has already been mentioned?
Edit: I re-read what I wrote and it comes off rougher than I'd like. I'm going to leave it but I ask that you understand my frustration isn't directed at you, the individual. I am frustrated and I suspect that's able to be discerned from my writing style with that post.
I am going to leave it because I am frustrated. People are seriously considering taking away my rights. I don't want any of my rights taken away - even if I didn't plan on using them. I have plenty of room and would happily let them house soldiers on my property, but I'm not wanting to give up the right to refuse.
In my experience, stepping outside of my Liberal-biased comfort zone and having such civil discussions with others has helped me realize that people tend to have so much more in common with each other than their partisan alignments would allow them to think. Also, as a result of that experience, I no longer use such labels to describe myself or others. Because right vs left or whatever branding people may choose for themselves are simply a false dichotomy that keeps us distracted from solving real problems.
This doesn't fit well in American politics. My concerns are preservation of liberties while ensuring protection of the commons and striking a reasonable balance between them.
I'm just not a Statist. I absolutely think we should have things like inexpensive education, a broad social safety net, universal health care, and progressive taxation.
I've never actually been represented by a government official.
Like you, I don't fit easily into a box or a definition. I'm fairly moderate and reasonable, I hope. I didn't emote my way to these positions, I used logic and reason. I've held these views up for debate and have had this same conversation hundreds of times - some of those conversations helping me define and present my views better. I am absolutely willing to adjust based on new information and try to be both realistic and pragmatic.
So, I absolutely appreciate your civility. It is a rarity to be able to reach this level of discourse, more so on a public forum.
That says a great deal about you as a person and about the HN community which has played host to this conversation. (I've noticed the votes coming in, so we are being observed.)
I don't expect to change views. I hope to give reason and an example. It's REALLY hard to hold my position of being pro-firearm ownership when I'm in certain circles. The political climate doesn't make it easy.
So, I usually try to be really careful about what I say and how I say it. It makes for long posts but I think it easier to be clear than it is to be defensive.
Again, I absolutely admire your civility and willingness to hear a view that isn't shared often. I do confess, many of the other firearm owners make this much more difficult. They are a problem and I don't have a solution other than my above proposals.
I spent a couple of years in the air cadets (youth version of the air force) and I fired rifles there. I can see reasons for it in the military. You're right it is very much a skill and a very important one in human history to be able hit a target.
Archery does something similar but I don't see people collecting hundreds of bows and arrows.
But literally I've never known someone who owns a handgun, or been in a house where there is one. Let alone automatic rifles.
I'm not saying that it's wrong or right just foreign.
Cheers for the invitation :) If you come this side of the pond I'll find some exciting cheese rolling competition for you to do
Wow... We are so far off-topic, but we're being civil and productive so, hopefully, nobody minds too much. Email is available and an option.
On that note, I'd probably rather be shot with a bullet than with a bolt from a crossbow. The energy imparted by a fairly bog standard crossbow at 100 yards is about the same amount of energy imparted by a .45 at 6". The damage a bolt causes is unbelievable, if you're not familiar with it.
Even a simple recurve bow with a 70# draw imparts a great deal of force. I can reasonably fire three arrows in ten seconds.
Anyhow, I do hunt during archery season - if you hadn't guessed. I'll be harvesting my deer during archery season and haven't decided if I'm going to try for a bear with a bow. I'm worried about not getting a clean shot and the bear suffering needlessly.
As mentioned before, I kill and process the vast majority of the meat that I eat. I respect the animal and don't want to cause additional or prolonged suffering.
I guess the partial point I'm making is that a firearm is a tool and needn't be used to harm humans. I have other tools that will readily harm a human. I don't plan on ever doing so and would go to great lengths to avoid doing so.
Not all of us want to be Rambo and dream about fighting off bad guys in an active shooter situation. Unlike the movies, getting shot at kind of sucks and is scary. I'd like to avoid that. The problem is, and it is a problem, we have people who seem to fetishizes just that. We also have crazy people. I submit there's overlap between those two groups.
This brings to mind my stance over the last few years regarding firearms, which is I think it would be beneficial to outlaw handguns (as opposed to rifles or shotguns), if it could be feasibly done (it probably can't, there's far too many out there already). Firearms can be utilitarian, but the extra utility offered by miniaturizing them to the point that they are easily carried on your body, and easily hidden on your body, seems to encourage modes of use that are detrimental.
Police, of course, may have reason to need a small firearm handy, but even then there seem to be problems where it's so easy to access that it's used inappropriately (or even accidentally used instead of a taser).
(That situation counts for every black bear attack in Maine since the 1880s.)
A rifle isn't as easily maneuvered in tight situations and close up. You don't want to damage the meat more than you have to - so that you're maximizing the value.
Dispatching a wounded animal (of other types) with a pistol is fairly common and the rounds are less likely to cause much more damage.
Additionally, I rabbit hunt with a .22 (Ruger Mk II) frequently. Opportunistic rabbits are delicious and easily taken with a small round.
Then, there's sport shooting. Pistol clubs and competitions are quite common activities in certain spheres. I was on both a rifle and pistol club. (Back then, they were actually functions at my school. Our firearms were locked in the closet in the headmaster's office.)
So, there's justified reasons to own a pistol.
Also, as you suggested, I have no idea how they'd get them off the street. I can't even begin to imagine the uproar.
As an aside, as far as I know, the largest mass killing of civilians in America was at the Battle of Wounded Knee. After disarming the civilians, they massacred a bunch of them, including women and children.
When the Revolution really got started, the British were marching their way to Concord to confiscate the powder, shot, and cannon. They were going to go disarm the citizens.
I have no idea how we'd be able to get pistols off the street and I'm not sure that'd actually solve anything. Most firearm deaths that aren't suicides are caused by people who aren't actually interested in obeying the law.
Even if we could, I'm not sure that I'd want to give up that liberty. Freedom does come with penalties. Liberties come with associated risk. We can speculate that speech is a more a cause than the firearm used to commit the act, I don't want to give up that right either.
As for the police, I'd like to disarm them except for specially trained officers and only for use in certain situations. I don't see that as being political feasible either. Call it a hunch, but that doesn't seem likely to happen.
Of course we're pretty short of bears.
I am not condoning it, I'm merely pointing out that it's quite probable.
Well, that depends. If those are justified reasons, then there are justified reasons to own and operate a .50 cal BMG rifle, a grenade launcher, or landmines. You can make a sport out of anything, and that something is used as equipment a sport isn't a good reason for its legality. Of the things you mentioned, the bear safety is the most compelling, but that's easily solved by circling widely to the front and putting an extra round in the head. That's safe. It would be nice if handguns could only be used responsibly, but they have specific attributes that I think make them problematic for society.
> Additionally, I rabbit hunt with a .22 (Ruger Mk II) frequently. Opportunistic rabbits are delicious and easily taken with a small round.
When I was young I watched my grandfather take a golpher in the head while it was diving into its hole at 30 yards using a .22 rifle. I pulled the body out of the hole it landed halfway in. I'm not convinced a handgun is required for this either.
> When the Revolution really got started, the British were marching their way to Concord to confiscate the powder, shot, and cannon. They were going to go disarm the citizens.
Sort of a on-sequitur, since we're not talking about removing all firearms, just a specific type of firearm, and one of less use in an armed conflict than the ones I'm proposing we could keep. I believe the right to bear arms is important. I believe in the citizenry's right and responsibility to be a check on the government. I'm just not sure how handguns really support that in a way that isn't by other firearms, and I do think they have unique disadvantages for society.
> Freedom does come with penalties. Liberties come with associated risk.
This argument is all too often unqualified. Should we all be allowed access to RPGs, land mines and missiles? I believe there exist weapons that the regular citizenry don't necessarily need regular access to. If you believe the same, I think it's entirely valid to ask for what criteria makes some of those items valid for that list and not hand guns. That may be easily answered by some, but others might find it hard to justify their initial reaction.
Edit: Fixed some typos
Firearms are well defined. An RPG or landmine is not a firearm.
Need isn't the issue. You don't need your freedom of speech, either. You don't need your right to be secure in your papers.
Much like all my other liberties, I own firearms because I want to. I speak because I want to.
We're not talking about that though. We're talking about liberties, and the right to bear arms, which is very much not restricted to people that can show those skills for the vast majority of the country (which is not to say the majority don't have those skills,just that it's not a requirement of ownership).
> Firearms are well defined. An RPG or landmine is not a firearm.
The liberty in question is the right to bear "arms". While firearms generally means hand-held weapons, "arms" does not. If the right to own and bear these is a liberty that people are not upset about, why, and what's the difference? What about cannons? Historical, or modern? Mortars?
I posit that people have made distinctions based on cultural norms and/or personal desire in mony cases instead of specific attributes that classify them into groups (even if the government has classified them into groups legally), and that handguns, if looked at with an open mind, might not fit into the group of what is considered acceptable (if it wasn't grandfathered in already).
> Need isn't the issue. You don't need your freedom of speech, either. You don't need your right to be secure in your papers.
But need should factor into whether something is a legal exception that is allowed. I would argue that some form of firearms are needed based on the constitution and bill of rights. I'm just not sure handguns are needed.
Right now, we have a problem. Banning and trying to confiscate a firearm type is not a reasonable solution.
Hell, even defining pistol in a useful way is damned difficult.
If need factors into it, we don't need any of our rights. Humans survive in totalitarian regimes.
Place reasonable restrictions and work on the social issues. We both agree reasonable restrictions are a good idea. I submit that your definition of reasonable is different than my own.
It is not okay to take away my liberties because you're afraid of a statistical outlier. Yes, being an outlier sucks, but that's not a good reason to go banning things that scare you.
It's great that you said you're not sure that handguns are needed. That means you're not sure they should be prohibited. If nothing else, that gives us room for discussion.
Liberty is about having the lawful option. It's not about needs. If it were, they'd call them necessities.
I'm not really trying to hammer you on this, I'm more testing out this argument to see how it goes. This is more to find if there's some obvious thing I'm missing.
> Right now, we have a problem. Banning and trying to confiscate a firearm type is not a reasonable solution.
Well, we already ban other types. It's not going to solve anything, but that doesn't mean it might not help in some small way.
> I submit that your definition of reasonable is different than my own.
I was just trying to figure out how you defined reasonable. It's easy for people to say "it's not reasonable" when they really mean "I don't want to think about it in a reasonable manner and explain myself". I'm not accusing you of that.
> It is not okay to take away my liberties because you're afraid of a statistical outlier.
Well, some of your liberties are already denied you, depending on interpretation. Is the important thing that they are "taken away", so you feel it, or that they are denied, in which case whether they exist right now is moot.
> If nothing else, that gives us room for discussion.
That's all this is! :) I'm not sure it would help even if it could be implemented, but I thought it was interesting to discuss.
Thanks for discussing it with me. :)
Not sure about other AU states.
Edit: clarified state.
The above thread made no reference to owning a weapon for home protection.
: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SlOXowwC4c (skip to about 13 min)
Place it so it ideally won't harm anyone. Granted that's hard if the entire neighborhood goes up in flames.
Also insure you have video and pictures of the now to include the inside and outside of your home, vehicles and land along with what the neighbors homes looked before you vacate the area.
Once you are sure you have everything, fill up on gas if possible and vacate the area and check the safety status of the area many miles away from the fire. To be safe go to a different county or city far away from the flames.
This is a fantastic idea and something we have begun to implement this year for our house and one of our barns.
I've been meaning to do it for the last five years but it's more complicated than you think - your water supply and all components out to the sprinkler heads need to be metal (not PVC) pipe and depending on the height of your buildings it might be non-trivial to get the right pressure up to the top of a 30 or 40 foot tall structure.
I cannot comment on issues of "neighborhood water supply", etc., as we have our own water supply.
The plan is very simple - upon evacuation, turn on the sprinklers which will irrigate the area of the roof itself, as well as 10-12 feet beyond. It's a very good idea because much of the risk of structure involvement arises from embers that are blown, or float onto the roof, into the gutters, or into the attic (through vents).
Related to that, it is extremely important to keep your gutters clear of leaf debris and clear any accumulated piles of brush away from the house itself (usually in exterior corners, etc.)
So who knows if the roof will hold water... hehe
It's a great place with great climate variations.
Ember defenders, for example: https://www.ebay.com.au/i/222172111808?chn=ps&dispItem=1
Most people don't stockpile (or have available on tap) foam.
Do not waste time dousing your house with a hose, just get your stuff quickly and get out of there safely.
Do all you can. It's your home.
Anyway, this is not a joke and should be taken a bit seriously. A 2l "dry water" fire extinguisher costs about £20 a pop. They work on all fires that are likely to be encountered in the home (not rated for flamable metal). They are quite new but are certified in the EU and maybe beyond. The great thing about these is that they are safe for electrical fires as well as paper etc. So you can replace foam and CO2 with one extinguisher. I was encouraged to look into these by a member of the British Fire Brigade. Put one on each floor.
As well as that, get an escape ladder for upstairs - ~£30-40 and a blanket for the kitchen - ~£5
Fire needs three things to crack on: Something to burn, oxygen, source of ignition. It's not rocket science. No one needs to know about your little fixation about removing the towel that your sig. other leaves next to the gas hob etc.
Keep safe kids!
EDIT: Just seen a few posts whilst I was pontificating here from people who really have to deal with fire as a way of life.
You have a lot of good advice here - heed it!
There are many fine suggestions in the thread, so I'm going to amend, assuming you don't mind, your statement - just a little.
"It's time for everyone else to think about their fire plan."
At this point, OP should just follow the best solutions posted in the thread that the situation safely allows for. I'd add that they should monitor local radio as that's likely the source of a rapid evacuation notice.
Edited to make it clear that my comment is the pithy one, not the one to which I am responding.
I'm not from around there ...
As it appears to be a real and present danger, I'm tempted to write about how to respond in an emergency situation. I'd be more concerned with it derailing the subject of the thread, however.
I'd also add that if there is real risk, moving before the traffic increase may be a wise option. I'm not able to determine their risk and, for liability reasons, would not do so.
These blankets are a bit dangerous on their own - depending on the material (both of the fire source and the blanket) they can essentially act as wicks. Source with pictures: http://www.nachrichten.at/oberoesterreich/Gefahr-bei-Fettbra...
Aka Water Mist? https://www.thenbs.com/knowledge/fire-extinguisher-types-how...
Plan to leave way earlier than you have to so you don't stuck or have to wait behind everyone else.
It's a fire. It can kill you. Nothing the internet says will make it safe. There is no trick. There are no hacks. None of your stuff is worth dying for.
OP says they have time. It would make sense to do proper packing and the simple photos and videos of the house.
I doubt anyone is saying to do this stuff if you're in serious imminent danger. And overall following what local authorities are saying is a good thing to do too. Perhaps there's a reason OP shouldn't leave right now. We don't know what's happening there.
The median time of "the next 24 hours" is twelve hours away. The first quartile is six or fewer hours away. The worst case is not a homeowner's insurance headache. It's dying. All of those are premises of the statement "Your house might burn down in the next 24 hours."
If a doctor told the OP, "If you don't do X, there is a good chance you will die in the next 24 hours," what priority should the OP place on X versus photographing their household's personal property?
"in the next 24 hours"
You forgot to read the title.
Take pictures of receipts before you even walk out of the store, or on the passenger seat of your car. That may or may not be acceptable for returns, but for recordkeeping it's the way to go.
From Reddit: omeowner turned his sprinklers on before leaving to escape a Kansas wildfire. He came home to the only house saved.
Two story house, so hosing the roof is hard, but it's tile at least.
Northern California, so basements are pretty much non-existant.
Faucets left on is an interesting idea, but given the fire is leaving flat slabs in its wake, not sure how much it will help. Probably can't hurt though.
I would pay careful attention to the air quality. I would keep some eye drops handy and a wash cloth, handkerchief, or bandana that you could wet and cover your nose and mouth.
Check in with neighbors, friends, and family periodically as situation progresses. Let others know your plans.
Have your car filled with gas and ready to go. Be prepared for a minimum of 2 evacuation routes.
I would keep abreast of local news and probably set alarm clock to re-check every few hours during the night.
Stay safe, hope the wind is favorable.
Social security cards (not technically ID but good to have)
Insurance documents (home, auto, health, life, anything else)
Property deeds or rental agreements for real estate, vehicles, any other major physical investments (own a boat? a tractor?)
Latest statements from bank accounts, credit cards, etc (digital copies will suffice - this is more about making sure you have account numbers, etc.)
Paperwork from any corporate entities you may own or agreements such as stock option plans (digital may suffice here as well)
A digital copy (photos on phone if necessary) of your last year's tax documents
Photos of your last few pay stubs (if they're not already digital)
Any financial vehicles whose ownership depends on physical documents, such as bearer bonds
If you have documents relating to care of relatives (guardianship, power of attorney, DNR), bring those
If you have a will, make sure you have a copy (digital or otherwise).
Any other licensing documentation you might expect to want to refer to without having to ask the issuing body for a replacement (firearms licenses, medical licenses, marriage licenses, etc.)
Any documents relating to medical history or prescriptions
Contact info for everyone you know (this may already be digital, but some people do still keep Rolodexes or little black books)
Keys to any and all the things (shed, office, storage unit, safety deposit box, whatever)
You'll likely want to bring with you any laptops and external hard drives you own. If you're somewhat electronics savvy and have a desktop computer, consider extracting its drive too and taking that with you.
And of course, it's the things with sentimental value that are hardest to replace. You can always buy a new stereo system or replace a pair of jeans you left behind (even if you have to wear the jeans you did take until they fall apart and play music over a $20 pair of computer speakers while you save up to replace that tuner). You can never replace your photographs, your favorite stuffed animal from childhood, your grandmother's jewelry.
Panic will probably harm more people than fire or smoke. Anything to reduce stress is a good thing.
It is unrealistic, but it would be nice, to have everyone take some lessons in coping with emergencies. There are almost certainly local classes in emergency preparedness, and some varied levels associated with it.
So, in addition to the fine list above, I'd suggest that folks consider such courses in the near future - as well as taking refresher courses. My area has drills and training for citizen/volunteer search and rescue, more so than dealing with other disasters. They even offer free first aid training and classes for pay with some certifications as the result.
If anyone is interested, I'd check with your local fire department, EMTs, or police.
I would also take a look at your policy and look for things that are not covered under traditional home owners. Things that come to mind are jewelry, art, and sometimes computers. Jewelry especially being high value and easy to evacuate with you.
Best of luck. Will be thinking of you all.
That's UPS, not USPS. I wouldn't really trust either one of them, but if there's one I'd trust to do the obviously wrong thing, it's USPS.
0. Yourself. If you die, all of the stuff below is largely irrelevant to you. Don't stick around, don't try to defend your property unless you've gone to great lengths to make it defensible.
1. Pets. If anyone leaves a pet behind to be burned alive, they also deserve to be burned alive.
2. Documents; titles, wills, deeds, insurance, medical stuff, tax stuff, identification, anything important. If you have a filing cabinet, consider just wheeling the whole thing out (if possible) and putting it in the back of your car, if there's a fire bearing down on you don't waste time sorting through stuff.
3. 24 - 48 hours worth of supplies. Water is essential, also consider food bars, batteries, and of course any medication. In fact, I'd consider having a go bag of this stuff on hand and ready to go every summer if you live in a fire danger area.
4. A radio. You need to know what's going on, and a radio is one of the best ways to do this during a fire.
5. Medication, again. Don't forget your meds, or your families, or your pets.
Once you have that sort of stuff in order, second priorities;
1. Get some photos of the inside and outside of your house. Insurance companies are scum and will try and get out of holding up their end of your policy however they can.
2. Collect up irreplaceable stuff like photos, hard drives etc.
3. Time permitting, move any fuel (as in stuff that burns) away from your house.
4. Time still permitting, block up your gutters and fill them with water. Also seal any windows as best you can and move anything flammable away from them.
5. As you're leaving, turn on all your sprinklers if you have them.
Ideally, you want to be out of there long before the fire is anywhere near you. We get told to make the decision to stay or go about 24 hours before our properties are threatened by the fire but it's not always easy to know when or if that's going to happen. But if you can see the fire in the distance I'd suggest going RIGHT NOW, and if you can see flames and they're reasonably close then it may be too late to leave safely.
The region that's on fire is like an hour's drive away from Berkeley. Unless you anticipate camping on the freeway, I don't see how 48 hours of water is really an essential. The supply chain isn't in much danger except in the very local area you would be evacuating.
In Australia we've had bush fires hit remote communities who've then been short on all sorts of supplies for days at a time. Not to mention in having an extra days worth of 'stuff' you'll have enough to go around.
The idea is you want to make it harder for the fire to get a foothold on your roof - that's a death sentence for the house in most cases.
Is it ideal? No. Is it a pain in the ass to remove? Yeah, kinda.
But it expands and hardens to a watertight closed-cell foam plug, which is what you want. If you have a hardware store nearby, it's relatively inexpensive.
Fair warning: it was vile.
She yawned lazily and said, "Please inform your misguided friend that we are not chattel. Thank you."
BTW, thanks for the tip!
This how I would prioritize, based on my horrific experience:
1. People (obviously). Your safety is the most important part.
3. Irreplaceable sentimental items.
4. IDs, marriage certificates, birth certificates, passports, etc. I lost all but my driver's license in the fire and I'm still in the process of getting some of these documents replaced. This is particularly sucky if you are an immigrant like I am, where to get a new passport, you need a citizenship certificate, and to get a citizenship certificate you need a birth certificate, and to get a birth certificate you need a document from your country of origin, etc. It's a mess. Grab those documents.
5. Irreplaceable items that are important, but don't necessarily have sentimental value. Some of your digital data might fit this category. Having a backup in the cloud is a great idea.
6. Valuable items that are expensive to replace. Cameras, laptops, etc.
7. Anything else you still have room and time to get.
The insurance company will likely make you go through hell to get your money. So take photos and videos of all your belongings BEFORE they burn down. If you have offline receipts, take them with you or scan them before you lose them. Online receipts are easier to find, of course.
Best of luck to you. I hope your house is spared.
(Unless the house has sprinklers, of course, or other fire suppression, obviously.)
Not that this helps, I just figure it is interesting and one less thing to worry about at a stressful time.
They usually don't require power or external water because those can be disrupted. I only know this because I've been involved in having a few systems installed and am not an expert.
The systems I'm familiar with were all commercial, so that may be why I'm unfamiliar with them being fed from the main. I had to deal with getting a couple of commercial buildings done. I am not completely certain, but I think both of those systems were completely independent of the municipal water supply. I'm 99% certain, at least.
Not that I'm aware of, which means I'm pretty sure not. It might be that at the house level, a single house isn't expected to draw so much water, while in a larger structure it's probably possible to overwhelm any feasible main that could be expected if a bunch of sprinklers go off. Even if the main can handle it, maybe there isn't a large enough connections to specific portions of the building from the main which causes water starvation. I imagine there's lots of insidious details when scaling to a large building which aren't immediately obvious.
I can see why there would be different systems and code requirements for residential construction. Come to think of it, whilst you could put the tank in an attic space - or use a bladder system, it would occupy a lot of space and I'm not sure residential construction would support the weight of the system.
This seems like a disaster waiting to happen, and well it happened multiple times?
Why can't the regulation do the following:
- A mandatory buffer zone between the forest and housing.
- Mandatory no wood/cement-only houses in zones of higher risk.
- Mandatory no linked trees with your neighbors, so that the fire doesn't find a favorable environment to spread.
This isn't the only reason, but concrete buildings have a massive carbon footprint, much more so than wooden ones. For densely-populated areas, it's fine, but for single-family homes, it's incredibly environmentally wasteful.
I'd bet that (crazy made up number) 100x more people die in earthquakes in concrete structures than they do in the typical stick-frame single family homes that are common in the USA. Stick-frame houses simply don't "collapse".
But maybe a lot of the collapses I see on TV are because of either non-existent building codes or because nobody followed the code. Poor quality rebar and poor quality concrete?
But about carbon footprint for concrete, maybe it's not as bad as you say. If a concrete or brick structure lasts 100 or 200 years, might it not be better than a stick-frame structure torn down in 50 years?
I don't have any particular advice on what to take, but I do have some general advice:
Don't fuck around.
Even when you know it's going to be bad, it's going to be worse. A fire will move faster than you think is possible and get hotter than you can imagine.
The silver puddle on the ground here is melted alloy wheels: http://www.abc.net.au/news/image/286660-3x2-700x467.jpg
This bit is worth watching. https://youtu.be/dpvM6FoUwMI?t=5734
If you and the family separate for some reason (i.e. Work or grocery shopping) do other people have an egress plan without you? A defined meet up spot?
Know where the nearest large body of water is? If you are cut off from escape, it is possible to survive some fires from inside a body of water.
The main item I remember was that his wife (who was not home at the time) had different priorities to what he did, so maybe ask the rest of your family.
The Black Forest Fire started on 11 June 2013 in Colorado, US, and quickly set a record for the most homes destroyed by a single forest fire in state history... 511 homes were completely destroyed, including Bdale's.
Thanks to careful disaster recovery planning driven both by Bdale's history in the IT industry, and by the proximity of the Waldo Canyon fire less than a year prior, it was only a few days before the return of gag.com and related sites to the Internet began. But not everything went according to plan...
This talk will review the plans made and state of gag.com resources at the time of the fire, what went right and wrong during mandatory evacuation, and how we put things back together after the abrupt and dramatic change in lifestyle mandated by the move to an apartment.
If you have 2 non-EV cars, a way to siphon gas into the "good" car, before you leave, to top off the tank: https://www.harborfreight.com/multi-use-transfer-pump-63144....
When the fire is near enough to cause power outages, your cell phones may not work.
This site is -very- useful.
You may have something similar in your area.
Lost our home to fire some years ago. Amazingly, some of my paper documents survived because they were stored in an under-bed drawer that filled with water when the fire department hosed it down.
I was thinking that maybe you could take heavier, hard-to-move small items (silverware or a china set), or bulkier items like books, old records, second-tier paperwork, or home decorations, and wrap them in garbage bags or place them in a container, place them in the bathtub (or large sink, or even a top-loaded washing machine) and then submerge them in water.
No guarantee that they'll survive, but they will have a better chance.
In addition to documentation and preparation generally:
* Communicate and plan ahead with your family and/or household. I would strongly recommend that if there is someone who can not (or will not) cooperate under crisis conditions, evacuate them in advance. Fighting with others in a life-critical situation is about the worst possible complication. (Dementia, personality disorders, age/disability, etc.)
* Have a bug-out bag ready. In your vehicle if at all possible. Take what you need, and cannot easily replace. Leave everything else.
* Plan multiple escape routes, and have multiple plans ready. A critical element of fire disasters is that normally-safe routes suddenly aren't (and are clogged with panicked people unfamiliar with the area).
* Set priorities now. Realise that if you need to take on passengers or change vehicles, you may not be able to keep everything you've put in your own car. I'd err on the sider of under-packing.
* Moving flammable items away from windows may help your house. Curtains, any lightweight or synthetic fabrics, especially.
* Do not leave taps running, but if you have hoses do leave them connected to spigots. Pre-damping surrounding areas may help, but turn off water before you leave to preserve water pressure. (There's more such advice in this link.)
* Have multiple copies of data, and hardcopies of maps, plans, contact, and related information.
* Pre-arrange an emergency / reconnection contact, preferably well outside the emergency area. Realise that phone and other comms services may be down.
* If you have pets, get them squared away, and perhaps keep them in cages ready to go until the danger passes.
There are numerous other steps that can be taken, though much of that should have been done a while ago. Those who aren't waiting for flames to march down (or up) the ridgeline might start thinking of those.
The Bdale Garbee list is a solid one as well, listed elsewhere.
Basically I just worked my way down in value/density order: light, small, valuable things first into the cars. But first I drove to the ranch supply place and bought 15 garden hoses and sprinkler heads and set them up to wet down the area around the house and the roof. Again luckily the well didn't run dry. Then I photographed the entire house interior.
Good luck and stay safe.
(proflific Amazon/online shopper, lost home and all possessions in a fire last year)
To quote a bit:
Remember to list everthing-- even the most mundane fucking bullshit you can think of. For example, if I was writing up the shower in my bathroom:
Designer Shower Curtain - $35
Matching Shower Curtain Liner for Designer Shower Curtain - $15
Shower Curtain Rings x20 - $15
Stainless Steel Soap Dispenser for Shower - $35
Natural Sponge Loofah - from Whole Foods - $15
Natural Sponge Loofah for Back - from Whole Foods - $19
Holder for Loofahs - $20
Bars of soap - from Lush - $12 each (qty: 4)
Bath bomb - from Lush - $12
High end shampoo - from salon - $40
High end conditioner - from salon - $40
Refining pore mask - from salon - $55
I could probably keep thinking, and bring it up to about $400 for the contents of my shower
The most important rule. IF YOU CAN SEE THE FIRE AT ALL, GO.
I'm an Aussie, from the country, we saw a lot of fires when I was growing up. It moves soich faster than you can imagine. In good condition ditiona it can go faster than you can drive.
Be careful, gods speed buddy.
Edit, as mentioned : if safe turn off gas.
2nd edit as techjuice said: legal documents and video, but this is the last thing. Documents won't help your family if you don't get out.
Look I'm not kidding about how fast fire can move, if you can see it, it's panic time.
Also, I emailed you, if you need to ask a question, drop me a email with your skype, I'll call and answer anything I can.
Edit: email I sent to op, for anyone else's info:
Okay, now I'm sorry if some things sound like I'm talking down to you. I'm just going to explain as I know it (also forgive typos I'm on a phone).
Driving through a fire- even on a road is not a plan. Ever. It starves the engine of oxygen and the vehicle will stall. Bad place for it. Only ever do it if it's an emergency.
Fire will move faster than you. Yes it takes days sometimes to move a few hundred feet, but Murphy is an arsehole and fire can move faster than you can drive, if the conditions are right.
Clothing; hot and cold, you don't know where you will be, pure cotton is better than synthetic, synth melt if your in fire, melting is worse than burn.(you have to take it out of the skin if it melts).
First aid kits: if you have it bring it, alovera plants are an amazing treatment for burns, snap a small part off and run the juice over the burn. If there is a burn with a melt(eg clothing, plastic etc), and if it's safe, do not pour cold water on, it will set the melt, try and remove as much as possible (without touching the burn), before applying water.
I'll write more after this email.
If you are forced to drive through fire, a)very. Fucking. Dangerous.
B) all windows up, clothing(cotton) around mouth and nose. Be. Careful.(gods I hope you don't get into this)
Again. If you can see the fire, get. Out.
I don't have much more for during the fire, some people recommend sprinklers, watering roof etc, I believe that's an edge case. Yes if you have time, it may help, but there is no reason to risk your family for it.
Lives can be rebuilt, life cannot.
Actually, listen to local authorities, if you can see the fire then there's a good chance that it's too late. I'm sure you're aware of our newer "stay or go" procedures and that these decisions must often be taken 12-24 hours in advance. You don't want to be one of those tragic images of a burnt out car on the road while you were trying to evacuate.
If OP is asking on HN now then I think it's safe to say they don't have a well thought out evacuation plan and should leave ASAP if it's still safe to do so, just take the phone, wallet and a few clothes.
If you are unsure, I'll certainly agree, be. Fucking. Careful.
Otherwise, staying seems like a bad plan(cavet yes I know I know, but shit. If it's coming towards toh, go, if there is akm firebreak between you don't, I can't cover everything edge case)
I don't disagree with you, it's risky either way, and I only have my own personal experience to go from (which was dense bush to near the house), so I can't give op a definite plan. Not without knowing a lot more than I do, what I do know though, is leaving 24 hours before it arrives, is a lot safer than either of the previous options. Worst case scenario ario, a little fuel is wasted.
Edit: Just found a good facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/SCScanner/
Bank code generator
Your external hardrive containing a backup of your most important files (you of course have this ready)
Any favourite item that you don't want to lose, hardcopy photos of loved ones or memories such as that.
Your favourite blazer.
15 people have died and hundreds of structures have been destroyed.
"At least 2,000 homes and commercial facilities have been destroyed in the fires, which are burning in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Lake, Nevada, Butte, Calaveras, Shasta, and Yuba counties. A fire station in the Fountaingrove area of Santa Rosa was among the ravaged structures."
: I am presuming that the poster is north of the Bay Area; the smoke from the fires up there obscured Oakland from view of SF this morning, and the smell of the fire was all over. Eerie as heck, and I'm thankful to be on this side of the Bay. Co-workers reported accidentally leaving a window open and returning to a thin layer of ash covering stuff.
You're in a tough spot, when you have the time that is not better spent dealing with it, review your decision that got you into that tough spot. Be brutal with yourself, were the decisions reasonable? Did you make them actively or did they just sort of happen? Should you have prepared differently? Did you stop and consider it? Should you have done the research you're trying to crash with this question months ago at least? Did you make assumptions that have turned out to be horribly wrong?
Assess it from the point of view of how you can make these and any other similar decisions in your life, better.
Keep yourself, your family, any people safe first and foremost, everything else is just stuff. Even if it's irreplaceable for sentimental reasons it's still just a bunch of things.
Get everything else you can out of this. It's a major opportunity to review how you make decisions and why that can really help you improve that skill. Improving that skill is amazingly valuable to your family, friends and neighbours. You might tell this story to Forbes one day...
A 32GB thumb drive with scanned copies of your important documents is a nice-to-have if you can swing it.
I would only try to grab medications, three day's clothing, then irreplaceable items first, followed by what you have room/time for. If you have firearms, they are likely only covered up to $2,500 on a basic homeowner policy. Please be sure any left behind are unloaded, the heat will cause them to discharge otherwise.
Anything that is essential to earning your living (tools, laptops, photography equipment, etc.) is high priority.
Here’s the guide I’ve followed: https://theprepared.com/guides/emergency-preparedness-checkl...
As for survival advice, I can cover the basics: Don't go die in a fire. :)
I can not think of any situation where you would get any warning of a house fire where I live. It's either an accident, electrical fault etc, or arson. So you either aren't at home when it happens, or have to get out immediately. Best preparation I can think of is to place the most important documents in a fireproof safe or at a bank, and maybe have scans stored online.
Most Samsung phones have an extreme battery saver mode, which can probably stretch the battery for over a week.
I'm really sorry, I hope your house is spared, it must be horrible right now worrying.
Also one thing I learned from my flat burning is that even if a room doesn't burn, soot is super corrosive and will spread everywhere. A brand new hammer I left on a table looked like a 70y old tool a week after the fire. So you should try to wrap any electronic you care about and you can't transport.
And some bottles of water, and energy bars.
When I ran away from hurricane Irma, for example, the tennis racket I grabbed on my way out saw more use than most of the things I brought with me.
So easy to forget: a phone charger.
Lots of phones have battery saving modes, I know my Motorola can stretch the battery for probably 3 days or so, on the battery saver mode. Turn the display brightness way down. Every little bit helps.
If course a lot of things are more important than phones, but communication should not be neglected.
+ Make pictures of everything. Sync to the cloud. You might lose your phone later in the hassle.
Unsure how true this is, but it's possibly something to keep in mind.
Cut down trees (not supposed to have them within 200 ft of house anyway). Dig a fire line and cover the house with soapy water. Turn on sprinklers on the way out.
Spend one minute just experiencing being inside your house before you leave.
Leave a note with your contact information inside.
It's all up in the air until they are all out. I'm relatively safe right now, but still paying attention to all the alerts as they come in. They just issued a new advisory evacuation in a separate part of town a couple minutes ago just in case conditions change.
1. paper documents
2. electronic data
pretty much everything else is replacable
take video of walk through house, preferably slowly, it's easier than taking hundreds of photos
To which I would add, to be more responsive to the question: don't try to save anything that can be easily replaced. So: your laptop or a hard drive with a copy of your data, photos, original art work, out-of-print books that you're particularly attached to. Your passport. Maybe a few changes of clothes. That's it. Everything else is just stuff.
If there is actually a fire nearby, don't waste time, especially if it's windy. If the wind is calm then you might have some time, but if it's blowing, just get as far away as fast as you possibly can. A wind-drive fire is not to be fucked with.
If you're interested, here are the live-blog entries I wrote during the fire:
And the denouement:
Here's the TL;DR quote:
"I think if you're going to live anywhere near the mountains in SoCal you have to make your peace with the fact that your house might burn down some day and there will be nothing you can do about it. Accordingly, the best thing you can do is to figure out well in advance what stuff in the house really matters to you, and have a plan for getting that stuff out of the house, storing it somewhere safe for a while, and then putting it back, either in the same house or a new one that you build after the old one has burned down. Making that inventory was not part of our advance preparation, and that was a huge mistake. We found ourselves trying to decide under pressure what we wanted to save. And it turned out that some of those things -- mainly artwork -- wouldn't fit in our cars."
Good luck to you. We were thinking of moving up to Santa Rosa ourselves last year and decided against it. Never dreamed this could happen there.
I think about the way Insurance companies have used these rare events to raise rates, and cringe.
I think about all the people who couldn't afford property insurance, and cringe.
(If it was my house, I might put a sprinkler on the roof, and turn it on. I would nail the sprinkler head to the roof. Then again, they say it will lower the water pressure to the fire hydrants in some areas.)
That said, my aunt and cousins are about 3 miles from the evacuation zone in Santa Rosa.
Sometimes you get whacked in the head right after the bus hits you.
Thanks to all for really great info and suggestions. I'm sending the info to my cousins and keeping a copy for the next hurricane.
Render large expensive items temporarily useless - if example maybe you can't take your new 50" TV but maybe remove one of circuit boards on the connector panel, same with washing machines on control panel, expensive juicer (just a difficult to replace small part), and so on. Power tools? Heavy and more difficult but hide them at least.
I can't think of anything more pointless than choosing to damage your items which are all easily replaceable and covered by insurance.