Grab and go or lost forever – what did you forget?

The other side of being prepared – what did you forget to take with you when disaster struck?

This is the last day of Emergency Preparedness Week; print, radio, television and social media have offered up a multitude of information on how to help ourselves to be ready should disaster strike. We are told about having our ‘grab and go bag’, a list reminding us to turn off the power, take water, pack battery run flashlights and a radio, medications, food for pets, and so on.

We pray that you have taken notice and by now have all of these items gathered together just in case you ever need to use them – hopefully never.

For those of us who reside in the interior of British Columbia, we have long since come to the conclusion that we are in the heart of our province’s wildfire country, and there is a very good chance someday we may have one knocking at our back door.

Thousands of B.C. residents have already experienced this, and perhaps you can forgive us for saying, but it really is “baptism by fire” when it comes to being prepared. No matter how prepared you think you are – you will learn as you go.

Perhaps on the upside of all this, as we now experience wildfires on an annual basis, we also gain experience in being prepared and coping with evacuations and the aftermath. There is a multitude of organizations, online sites, and print material out there to help with this process. If you need them, reach out, you will be glad you did and so will your loved ones.

But what about the information that isn’t out there, the tips from past evacuees that never get shared, the personal experiences that could help others when they find their own world turned upside down?

In the aftermath of an evacuation (or worse yet, the loss of a home to return to) there are so many moments when evacuees find themselves saying, “Oh, I wish I would have packed that”, or “Why didn’t I grab that when I ran out the door?”

We’d like to hear from our readers and those following our Facebook page about what you have experienced during evacuations. What can you share that might help others who have to face the unknown of evacuation?

This is your chance to reach out, and in doing so, perhaps this make the same unknown journey that you were forced to take just a little bit easier for others?

Tell us about that special something that you lost. What you will always regret not taking with you when evacuating, your photo albums, family keepsakes, important papers, the quilt your granny made – the irreplaceable items that pull at your heart.

And then tell us what brought a smile to your face during that stressful time and helped you to move forward?

These are the moments that unintentionally lighten the stress load and bring a smile to those who need one.

The woman shouting, “I’d kill for a clean pair of underwear!” Or hearing about the family who kept their pet goldfish safe in a tea cup full of water during an overnight evacuation, or the good folks who parked at the only gas station open during an overnight evacuation and served up warm drinks, information and hugs.

Being prepared for an emergency is something we all need to embrace, and the sooner the better. However, hearing from others about their evacuation experiences can help others who have to take that same journey.

Please share your thoughts, and stay safe!

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