Clothing: are you Ready? Do you have clothes packed for you and your family members in case of an emergency? If you had to leave your home now, this minute, would you have a bag stashed near an exit area that you could easily grab and take with you on your way out the door?
BTW – I chose the wrinkled paper background (from PicMonkey) for the photo above because I thought it looked like a wrinkled white shirt! What do you think?
If you are a new visitor to my blog, welcome! I write a monthly emergency planning and preparedness post around the 22nd of every month. If you’ve missed earlier posts in this series, now’s your time to catch-up:
- Resolve to be Ready 2015
- Snowstorm: are you Ready?
- Family Emergency Kit: are you Ready?
- Fly-away Kit: are you Ready?
- Emergency Food Supply: are you Ready?
- Smoke Alarms: are you Ready?
- Water: are you Ready?
- Alert: are you Ready?
- Evacuation: are you Ready?
- Pet Owners: are you Ready?
- Blackout: are you Ready?
- Wildfire Season: are you Ready?
- Resolve to be Ready 2014
The 22nd of the month is a significant date to me because we lost our home in a wildfire on October 22, 2007. I’ve written a 20-part series on the loss of our home and the rebuild, and the first of the series can be accessed here: Any Way the Wind Blows.
Charlie and I took clothing with us when we evacuated because we had 3 hours to pack. And, I wrote all about those 3 hours in Any Way the Wind Blows, but I’ll give you a brief synopsis here:
My mother called us to ask if we were evacuating our valley. I said “no” and she said she’d heard on the news that our valley was being evacuated. I told Charlie and we turned on the TV (I don’t remember the time now, but I think it was early evening).
We watched TV for hours, flipping channels trying to find any information – nothing. The winds were howling and around 7:00 p.m. I went outside to get our suitcases out of storage. During that time, I took this picture:
This picture is the fire in the hills and mountains east of our home. At the time, I had a simple point-and-shoot camera, but it did have a 10x zoom lens, so this photo is taken with that little zoom lens.
I brought the suitcases into the house and Charlie said, “why did you bring those into the house?”
“Just in case we need them.”
“Well, we aren’t leaving.”
Now, you also need to know that I’d been at a girlfriend’s house when I first heard about the fire in a neighboring town. I immediately got in my car and drove home. On the way home, I could see the fire in the distance, about 10 to 15 miles from our house and it was enormous, even from that distance. I had a sinking feeling we were in trouble.
As I drove down our road towards our home, the perspective changed and you could no longer see the massive fire in the distance. When I arrived home, Charlie was watching the NASCAR races (his favorite sport) and I told him to get in the car, I was going to drive him down the road to see the fire.
He was resistive (he’s stubborn like that), but eventually acquiesced and we drove a couple miles west, turned around and headed back home. He immediately saw the fire in the distance and heaved a whispered “wow”.
So, now he’s giving me fits about bringing in suitcases – go figure!
Anyway, on the off chance that I was overreacting, I set the suitcases aside and sat down to watch more TV. Finally, at 10:00 pm, the mayor of San Diego came on via a press conference. He said (I’m paraphrasing), “we have evacuated the entire town of Ramona and the San Pasqual Valley. The fire is burning west and we expect it to breach San Diego city limits by 1:00 am. There is no containment.”
I jumped out of my chair and like a maniac started running around the house throwing open the suitcases on the floor and stuffing things in them. Charlie said, “what are you doing? We aren’t leaving!”
I screamed “what part of that press conference did you not understand? They’ve evacuated our valley and we are still here. The fire is burning west into San Diego and there’s no containment!!!! We are leaving!”
He just stood there, dumbfounded. In all fairness, I guess he was in some kind of shock.
I asked him to go and get some clothes and toiletries and he came back with his toiletry bag and one pair of underwear and one pair of socks. He said he didn’t need anything else because we were coming back. I knew in my heart-of-hearts that this would be the last we saw of our old house and belongings, but I was too tired and frazzled to argue with him further. In the ensuing days, we had great difficulty buying him clothes (he’s a big man, plus many stores were closed).
At one point, I asked him to back the cars up to our front door and I started packing stuff in both of our cars. The first thing I had done when I jumped out of my chair was to put Coco (our cat) in his cat carrier. So he and his belongings were the first things packed.
By the time we were done (the cars were full), it was 1:00 am in the morning. We drove to the end of our driveway and spent more than 20 to 30 minutes waiting for someone to let us out because traffic was pouring down from the mountain community in a steady stream with no relief in sight. Finally, someone stopped and let us out and as we drove west, a fire ignited in our field.
For the rest of the story, you’ll need to read the series, because this is about clothes!
Both FEMA and the Red Cross suggest the following basic clothing for each family member:
- Tennis shoes or other sturdy shoes (make sure these aren’t new; don’t want blisters!)
- 2 to 3 pairs of socks
- A change of underwear (or two) including bras for females
- A pair of pants or jeans
- A t-shirt or other shirt (or both; layering is always good)
- Warm jacket
- Work gloves and other gloves or mittens for warmth
- Rain gear, such as a rain poncho and umbrellas
- Personal toiletry kit
- Personal medications
- Extra prescription glasses
If you have handicapped or elderly loved ones living in your home, be sure to include the following:
- Extra prescription glasses and/or hearing aids and extra batteries; chargers for special electrical equipment
- Walker, cane, and/or wheelchair (including cushions)
- Blood pressure cuff, oxygen reader or any other equipment, if you need to take their vital signs every day or several times a day
- Oxygen tank or other medical equipment
If you have an infant, be sure to include the following:
- Diaper bag with all necessary equipment
- Several changes of clothing
If you have young children, be sure to review and update their suitcases at least every 6 months since they are still growing. For adults, review and update annually to account for size changes.
A printed version of this list is available as “Project 5 – Create Individual Kits for Family” in my Emergency Planning Project Checklist. Be sure to print my Emergency Planning Project Checklist now and get started on your family’s emergency plan.
Also, for those of you following this series, here’s an updated “Resolve to be Ready Project Checklist” – Resolve to be Ready Project Checklist updated 2-23-2015. Use this month so you can answer “yes” to my Clothing: are you Ready? question!
(other posts about emergency planning and preparedness)
- 14 Human Needs
- Home Safety Quiz
- Hurricane Sandy
- In the Midnight Hours
- Replacing Your Important Papers After a Disaster
- The Fire Drill
- Tornado Alley