Saturday, May 21, 2011

Your House is on Fire, What Do You Take?

I came across this interesting website where people make photographic posts of what they would take if their house ever caught fire. Interesting idea. The possibility of me grabbing a Michael Jackson album as I escape my burning abode, as one person posted, is about zero, and there doesn't appear to be a survivalist-oriented person in the bunch, however it did give me pause to think about the question. Here is what I would grab in the event that my house goes up in flames (theoretical of course since at this point, nearly everything I own is in a backpack that I carry around with me as I travel the world for the next year or so which means I would, at this point, just grab the backpack and go):

  • Wallet, cell phone, key chain. These three items contain everything I would need to get back on my feet should a fire burn my home to the ground--contacts, money, ID, etc. Note that all of my personal/insurance/financial information is on a memory card stored in my wallet along with scanned pictures, a home inventory for insurance purposes, a back-up of all of my computer files, etc.

  • Kids/the pets/grandma. Everything else can be replaced except them out of the house first (you do practice regular fire drills at your home right? This way everyone will know what to do in the event of a fire and it will be much easier to get them out of the house).

  • Laptop. While I have all of my files backed up and could just buy a new laptop, it is a grand hassle getting all of the software I use back on a new computer so this I would grab just to save me the frustration of setting up a new computer.

  • BOB. For those who are prepared, exiting your house in a hurry with everything that you need is as simple as grabbing your (already prepared) Bug Out Bag. Should you not be able to get to your BOB, hopefully you also have a mini BOB in your car.

  • Important documents/sentimental stuff/irreplaceable stuff. Hopefully your important documents have been scanned into your computer and are currently kept off premises in a secure location. Smaller sentimental or irreplaceable stuff can also be kept in a safe deposit box or other fire-proof, secure location. With larger things such as antique furniture, there aren't many options other than good insurance coverage.

  • Money/gold/other easy to carry assets (firearms, etc). These are important items to have with you, however in the event that you can't get to them/can't carry them out of the fire, here's hoping that you have them stored in a fire-resistant safe which you can come back and retrieve after the fire.

Everything else is just stuff and can be replaced.

Note: be sure to keep a pair of shoes under your bed along with gloves and a flashlight to use in the event that you need to escape quickly. A change of clothes should also be near by.


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  2. Thanks for posting this. I've got a GHB in the van, but I've neglected to prepare myself for a fire. I've got one type of BOB, but it's not for this type of event. It's more a get out of dodge fast and on foot type deal. As I progress I'll blog about what things I choose to put on my list of things I would take with me. There is also one tip that I can give your readers and that is to go paperless as much as possible with their recordkeeping. Scan all thos bills, deeds, medical records, etc and occasionally drop them off in your lock box at the bank in a portable hard drive(encrypted with truecrypt of course!). Also, scan in all those family pictures. Your family will love being able to look at your photo albums online, you can set up your background changer on your computer to rotate through them, etc. I would recommend purging delicate information from those online pictures though. You don't want addresses so pedophiles can target your kids. So blur our the license plates, address numbers on the house, etc.

    Thanks again for posting and I'll keep reading if you keep writing! :)

  3. DD--I agree with going paperless as much as possible. All of my records are avaialble to me digitally and the paper records that I must keep are in a storage locker in my gun cabinet. I keep a back up of all of my records with my assistant as well as a back up in my safe deposit box. Just recently a client called and asked if I had a prticular document. It was a long shot as he knows I am traveling right now and not at an office but he was pleasantly suprised that I was able to email it to him within a few minutes because it was on my USB drive.