It’s been raining since last night and I don’t know when I’ve been happier for rain.
This past Thursday, many homes burned to the ground in neighborhoods very close to my parents’ house here in central Oklahoma. Yesterday, when Chrissie and her two youngest daughters were at Mom and Dad’s house, they had to evacuate because the fires had flared up again and were moving toward Mom and Dad’s house.
As I was leaving the grocery store, Mom flagged me down in the parking lot to tell me what was going on. Dad didn’t leave when they were evacuated. He was trying to figure out what to do with his and his friend’s horses before he could feel comfortable leaving. He was planning to put halters on each horse with his name, address, and phone number and cut the fence so they could escape the fire before he left. Residents of that area were able to go back home after the fire was contained a while later, but during that time and until the rain began, I worried that the flames would move their way again.
Thinking about evacuating and what I’d be able to pack in the car brings to light what is most important to me and what my emergency plan is. I’d make sure my kids were in the car (of course) with a change or two of clothes. We’d also take our two dogs and our cockatiel along with their food. We’d pack J’s insulin, pump site changes,testing strips, lancets, syringes – all the diabetes supplies I could fit in a suitcase. I’d pack my photo cd’s, the quilts Meema made, and the file folders that have my financial information, birth certificates, and medical records. I also have one small box for each child that has papers, artwork, and special momentos they’ve made through the years that I’d want to bring. If I had time, I’d grab a few other things, like items Mom has brought back from her overseas travels, the wreath Dad had made for me from a rope he used when I was a kid, the Bible I’ve had since I could read, the Christmas ornaments I’ve had since I was 3 days old. I’d probably throw in my jewelry box (although I don’t own any really expensive jewelry) and that would be it. All of those things are within easy reach and could be packed in less than 10 or 15 minutes.
I know I’d be wishing that I had a huge U-Haul truck instead of a small car if I was faced with making those choices, but really, most things can be replaced. I’d only take the things that I could never replace, things that have memories tied to them. I feel so badly for the people who’ve lost all those things this week.
During this time of year, when Oklahoma has lots of tornadoes and (prior to the rain) fire hazard warnings, I keep a bag filled with J’s pump supplies and syringes packed in the laundry room. Whenever there’s a tornado warning or watch, I feel better knowing that I can grab the bag, get insulin out of the fridge and go.
I have begun assembling an emergency kit for my family, but it’s not complete yet. This past week has reminded me that I must not stop gathering supplies until I’ve gotten all the necessary items in one place.
Side note: I really need to start remembering to turn up the ringer on my cell phone if I’m going to be carrying it around in my pocket. Mom and Chrissie had tried to call me to tell me about the evacuation, but I didn’t hear the phone ringing when I was in the grocery store.