Question of the Day

Friday Question of the Day – Are you Prepared to Evacuate in 5 Minutes?

Earlier this week we learned about a house fire in Moraga that unfortunately not only resulted in loss of property but a life as well. What ended up localized to one house could have ended in a far bigger disaster as the recent Napa/Sonoma fires have shown. With evacuation potentially minutes away for those nearby, a go bag with essentials is critical. Not to mention irreplaceable, sentimental items. If you had five minutes to evacuate your house do you know what you would bring? Do you have a go bag?

I happened to be very close to the fire below when I got a call from a neighbor at 5 o’clock in the morning. I looked outside and saw a police car in my driveway. I helped get my family outside, sprayed the yard with water, grabbed a backpack but froze at what to bring so besides a laptop I left empty-handed. The heat could be felt intensely as we watched firefighters battle the blaze across the street, just yards from our homes. There was one particular nerve-racking moment as the winds shifted toward us when I overheard a firefighter ask about evacuating nearby houses. That was when a police officer told us to leave the area immediately. I pointed out that the police car was in my driveway and he replied I could walk. And so I walked. Not far, and sometime later the fire was brought under control and we breathed a sigh of relief. Being so close brought home the importance of a go bag and what irreplaceable items to take. I’m going to starting writing down a checklist…

Previous Post Next Post
  • AJ Buttacavoli

    In 1967, in Tucson, in the only high-rise residential building in the city, where a buddy was letting me stay because he was in Europe, I had just come from a swim and had dried off and was sitting at a table filling out paperwork to return to school at the University of Arizona, when I noticed that siren noise was continuing to an excessive point so I got up and went to the balcony and saw fire truck ladders up the side of the building, so I then went into the hall and saw smoke. I realized the building I was in was on fire and I returned to the apartment and stool frozen thinking what I should do. Since I was nude I thought it was a good idea that I put some clothes on. Once that was done I looked around to see what I could take. It occurred to me I should have my wallet which I put in my pocket. Then continuing to stand there almost as if I was in a trance I said to myself I better get out fast. I left the apartment and ran to the stairs only to discover when I opened the door that it was filled with smoke and could not be used. I thought for sure I was a goner. Then I turned around and ran right into a fireman who asked me if there was anyone else on the floor. I said there was an elderly couple at the end of the hall who might be in. He checked but there was no one so the two firemen escorted me to the lobby using the elevator and I discovered the lobby looked like a hospital ward. I was escorted outside where dozens of residents were standing watching the building burn, a fire that was restricted to the eleventh floor because of a man who was smoking in bed. I was on the 15th floor so all the floors above 11 were smoke damaged.
    I have never been in a high-rise since and I really am at a loss as to why so many high-rises are being built when they are just not safe.

    • Yikes ahootie

      I thought people weren’t supposed to use an elevator in a fire?