December 8, 2017 Nicole Abaté Ducarroz 2 comments
The ridge just above my home in Glen Ellen
The ridge just above my home in Glen Ellen
This magically showed up everywhere
This magically showed up everywhere
A view from Arnold Drive
A view from Arnold Drive

Navigating Fire Threats And other natural disasters

6 "Things" to consider when disaster strikes

1.   Things to pack

2. Things for survival

3. Things to have in your car

4.  Things to put in order

5. Things to do before leaving the house

6. Things to know

Northern California wildfires were not expected, and thus many where not prepared.

While areas in Southern California are seasonably poised for wildfires, the Northern California Glen Ellen area had not been hit by wildfires since 1964! After understanding that these fires were wild and not just "a brush fire", the local firefighters had to shift gears and concentrate on saving lives and not fighting fires until more help could arrive.

  • "If there is one thing about us humans, it is the fact that we are adaptable even in the most dire of situations."        --Kim Hakim Sharkey

When the NorCal wildfires hit two months ago, I seemed to exist in a haze and learned as I went along, through trial and tribulation. I would like to pass some of this practical information on to my SoCal friends and family and anyone else for that matter! A little bit of “ahead of time” preparedness can go a VERY long way if an evacuation of any type may be in the cards for you and yours...

  • First and foremost, do NOT panic, get OUT if you need to QUICKLY. It is just “stuff” after all. However, if you take the time now to prepare, you can get out quickly AND still have time to collect some items of convenience and your most precious worldly goods...Feel free to print out our checklists.  The kids can help too! (Kids checklist and adult checklist)

1. Things to pack

  • Pack an overnight bag: include any daily medications, hormones, & supplements that you will need - AdultList & KidsList
  • Important documentation: Create one master file that contains things like passports, policies, legal documentation i.e., marriage license, birth certificates, social security cards, mortgage, and car titles.  Fire-proof safes are a great investment and can be portable! )
  • Precious Photos, photo albums and home movies
  • Hard drives and back ups (laptops, notebooks)
  • Cash and ATM/Credit cards, check book
  • Animal crates and animals contained so if you have to get out in a hurry, you have them close by  
  • Extra batteries, chargers, cords

2. Things for survival: Tip - pack extras to share with neighbors

  • Masks (make sure they are N-95/N-99 quality) 
  • Water & snacks
  • Eye drops, nose drops, chapstick
  • Basic First Aid Kit
  • Survival Kits: You can order pre-made disaster kits of all kinds
  • Generator & extension cords (heavy duty)

3. Things to have just in case to put into the car

  • Shovel, Rake, Axe - We used these to put out “hot-spots” as we traveled through town. 
  • Wind up radio
  • Flashlights
  • A cooler with ice and waters to share
  • Extra supplies to give to first responders and anyone you see along the way:  Eye drops, chapstick, masks, waters, protein bars, a big thank you!

4. Things to have in order before disaster strikes

  • Last will and testament
  • Photos of every room and closet in your home (insurance)
  • Policies are comprehensive and up to date     

  • Thank you to the probation officers for keeping our village safe (among other agencies far too long to list!)

5.  Things to do before leaving the house

  • Photo and video all contents of house and include the contents of refrigerator and freezer
  • Empty freezer and refrigerator and leave it open (otherwise, upon returning, it will stink and could possibly leak onto your floor)
  • Turn off all lights and unplug everything
  • Turn off the gas mainline (but know that your local gas company will most likely have to turn it back on for you) - YouTube link on how to turn gas off

6. Things to know

  • Fill up your car with gasoline ASAP! Gas stations run out of gas
  • Stores will quickly run out of some of the staple items, so having small supplies in advance can temporarily cover you & your friends
  • When purchasing food items that are for “emergencies” it helps to buy things with a 4 or 5 year shelf life
  • Sign up for Nixle to get updated texts for your area
  • Your children & your pets are going to be scared. Reassuring them with love and affection can go a long way
  • I took advantage of Facebook Live to keep everyone who was not in the area up to date as well as I could. People were so appreciative
  • The shelters fill up very quickly so if you have the option of staying with friends and or family, consider doing so to save shelter space for those who have nowhere else to turn
  • Touch base with out of town family members as quickly as possible to let them know that you are ok and what your immediate plans look like
  • Be patient...Not everyone handles crises the same


Please feel free to leave a comment on this post sharing anything that you found particularly useful, or things we may have missed, or a story you would like to share!


Good Idea

  • Save lives first, stuff second
  • Get your animals contained early on
  • Pack an overnight bag with essentials
  • Drive as many cars away as there are drivers
  • Remember your phone and chargers


Survival Kits #1

Survival Kits #2

Emergency Preparedness General Information #1

Emergency Preparedness general information #2

Masks N-95

Fireproof Safes 

Firefighter Hand tools

Adam Shaw's fire summary

Adult Packing List

Kid Packing List


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2 Comments on "Wildfires"

newest oldest most voted
Lynn Abate-Johnson
Thank you!! This is very handy and helpful. We were among the lucky ones in Kenwood who didn’t lose their home, although we had substantial damages, especially outdoors. I realized (later) that when we evacuated in the middle of the night, and the power had gone out, we couldn’t see to pack bags and vehicles, so now our headlamps (hands-free) are in the nightstand drawers on both sides, so we have them for next time. Also, I forgot it was October, being half-asleep and rushing, so i didn’t pack any warm clothing. So, even though it was pretty hot that… Read more »