6.25.2012

Have you ever thought about...

 What you would grab if you had to evacuate your house in 5 minutes?!

I never really had...until last Friday :)

You may have heard on the news over the weekend about Utah's "Dump Fire"?  Well that Dump Fire started on the mountain right behind my house on Thursday.  It didn't look too bad on Thursday, but by 9:00 Friday morning we were in serious trouble.

One thing you have to understand...my backyard is LITERALLY the mountain.  There was nothing between that wildfire and us besides a bunch of dry brush.  

Friday morning we woke up and were going about our day.  As it got close to 9:30 we noticed the smoke was getting really black and heavy.  I had my kids loaded up in the car so we could meet up with some friends to go to a splash park when I felt like I should just hang tight for a few minutes.  Lots of cars were driving up to the top of our street, pausing, and then driving quickly back down.  It made me wonder what they were seeing up there!  A few minutes later my kids were yelling out from the car, "Look Mom, its snowing!!"  Yep...ashes were raining down all around us.

Just a few minutes later several fire engines raced up our street followed by police officers.  They started jumping out of their cars, pounding on doors and yelling "You need to get out!  You're being evacuated...meet at the high school!!"  I was standing in my drive way and asked if I could run inside and get anything?  The police officer closest to me yelled, "You have 5 minutes...then you HAVE  to get out!!"

WHAT?!?!  I knew it was getting crazy, but had no idea it was so serious.  Luckily for us, I had packed up a few bags the day before just in case.  I grabbed the bags with a few days clothes for all of us, our laptop, hard drive, my camera, the kids special blankets and dolls, and our folder with all of our important papers.  That was it!  In that moment I think I really realized...things are just THINGS.  All that mattered was getting my kids safely out of the house and making sure our neighbors were able to do the same.

We raced over to the high school and just watched our beautiful neighborhood that we LOVE become completely covered in thick, black smoke.  As our neighbors started showing up I was overwhelmed with a feeling of community and gratitude that were safe, no matter what else happened.

It was actually really awesome to see what procedures are in place for situations like this.  As were waiting in the high school for updates some wonderful people from WalMart started bringing load after load of bottled waters, fresh fruit, crackers, cookies and treats.  Others were walking around taking orders for formula, diapers and wipes.  It was so inspiring to see how our community rallied together to take care of each other.

And what can I say about the firefighters?!  These brave men and women risking their LIVES...to save our STUFF.  It gives me chills just to think about it. On Saturday we were still unable to go back home, but I hated feeling so helpless.  I had seen on Facebook that the firefighters were running low on supplies, so the kids and I decided to go to the store and take them as much as we could.  We filled our car with Gatorade, bananas, Clif Bars and more!  It was so great for my kids to be able to carry bags into the fire station, shake the hands of these heroes, and tell them thank you.  And what did the firefighters do?!  They took my kids on a tour of the fire engines, let them climb up and try on helmets, gave them suckers and their very own plastic helmets!  I was blown away.  We had come to try and serve them...but they had served us.  My kids had been really scared, and the firefighters took the time to describe exactly what was being done to keep us and our homes safe.  I am so grateful for such selfless, brave people we have serving right in our own community!

Amazingly, as of Saturday night all evacuations were lifted with NO loss of life or structure!  I believe we were blessed with a miracle and am so grateful for the lessons I learned from this experience.

But I would like to know....what would YOU take if you only had 5 minutes to evacuate your house?!  You know...just in case I have to do this again ;)

6 comments:

Jennifer @ Delightfully Noted

Wow, Tonii so glad to hear everyone is safe but what a scary but eye opening experience! I have always told myself I would grab the fur babies & all our picture albums (circa digital photos!)first (of course I put the albums all the way upstairs soooo I'd better run fast!)

Kate Sparkles

SO relieved to hear you are all safe. Bush fires are absolutely terrifying.
A lot of my friends from high school lived on a mountain and each summer prepared packs ready to flee and many families actually left boxes of special stuff with grandparents/friends in less risky areas during particularly bad seasons.
It must be such a relief for you all to know that the area you live in does have a reliable evacuation plan, though fingers crossed you don't need to use it again.

Kelley @ TheGrantLife.com

This seriously sent chills down my spine. I dont know what I would do in that situation. You were a rock star Tonii! Glad everything is ok! :)

Michelle Paige

How scary! So glad everything was OK! I love how you modeled 'giving back' to the firefighters. What a great lesson for your kids to see and participate in!

Michelle

So glad everybody and everything was safe! I keep discs with my photos saved on them in a fireproof safe because we have had a similar scare before. I know I would grab them!

Anonymous

I am so happy your family and home were safe. I use to be the person that saved every little keepsake..from dried flowers from loved ones, mums from high school, movie tickets...basically any thing that held a memory for me. About twelve years ago we lost my family home and every single thing we owned. My things, my childrens things, my mothers things...all of it gone. It was like a death in our family. So from that moment on...i really dont hold on to items with much meaning any more. If given the chance today to save anything in my burning home...my kids, our lovely pet, my small filing cabnet, and what pictures I could grab. Everything else can be replaced. My loved ones can not. Everything else means nothing without family.