For those people who have been living under a rock the past week, Southern California has been on fire in a bad way. From what I have heard on the radio, more than 500,000 people were evacuated from their homes and to-date there has been about $1 billion worth of damage done. The topic of discussion on the talk radio shows is, of course, who is to blame for the lack of resources, why weren't the fixed-wing planes delpoyed to Orange County, yadda, yadda, yaddda, blah, blah, blah. I am not really interested in the politics of it all (or rather, the political situation that they are making it to be). What does interest me is the fact that these fires literally destroyed the homes and, in some small way, the lives of thousands of people. All it takes is one small flame or one small spark....and an entire mountainside is burning and everything is gone.
When I lived in Provo there were also major wildfires, but none as bad (I think) as the ones this week in California. If I remember correctly, the fires in Utah did not do a whole lot damge to property - they mostly burned the grass/trees/brush all along the canyon walls. I'm not downplaying their severity - there just wasn't as much civilization surrounding the Utah fires.
In times of disaster, such as raging wildfires, it is natural to reflect on what you yourself would do were you the one whose house was about to go up in flames. If I knew I had 15 minutes to pack everything important in my life and flee the neighborhood because the out-of-control wildfire was knocking on my door, what would I take with me?
I was thinking this very thought last night. I came up with a small list of essentials that I would throw into a suitcase before getting the heck-out-of-dodge:
- Casanova (my stuffed lion), the Angel Pillow and the Brown Blanket
- My scriptures and other important religious documents
- My passport and Social Security card
- Laptop, digital camera, iPod and accompanying power cords
- The family pictures on my bookshelf
- The pictures, journals and letters from my mission in Spain
- Select pieces of jewelry that have significant sentimental value
- Select favorite books that have significant sentimental value
Hmmm....I think I would be able to throw all of that into a bag in 15 minutes!
Here's another question for the universe: In the event of a disaster, who would be the first person (or people) that you would call?
I think I would schedule a conference call with all of my immediate family (all 8 of us!) and then leave a voicemail for my best friend R (because she never picks up the phone!).
Any thoughts? Comments?
Photos from LA Times.com