15 November 2008

Prayers and wishes for wildfire victims

With apologies to reader Vidya (I couldn't contact you directly), I'm pulling this comment to the front because of the urgency and danger of the topic: the recent wildfires in California. A new fire started last night in the San Fernando Valley, which isn't a forested area...it's an area where millions of people live.

Whether where you live is prone to earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, or hurricanes, evacuation info is one of the most important things we can carry in our Filofaxes. That makes Vidya's comment more timely than ever:

Not to post off-topic, but the timing seems appropriate. I live in the Central Coast of California and yesterday many of my colleagues were either evacuated or preparing to evacuate because of the wildfires. People were trying to figure out what they should take in a very short time.

Earlier this year, I started a list in my Filofax of what I would want most in case I ever need to evacuate. My Filo is almost always with me, both at home and out, so I know it will be close at hand if/when the situation arises. I know that if I didn't have a list handy, I would stand in the middle of my house, in a panic, grabbing nonsensical items. It gave me a sense of peace knowing that I am prepared in one small way. In this part of the world, evacuation isn't a theory, it's an eventual likelihood.

So far, friends and colleagues are all safe, although my beloved Mt. Calvary Monastery/Retreat House was burned to the ground. The Montecito fire seems to be contained, but now there is another fire, to the east, in Los Angeles County and I am hoping it gets contained quickly.


  1. My thoughts are with those threatened by the fires. I have to say that Vidya's idea is brilliant. I have often thought about what things I would grab if there were a flood or fire at my house... Some fave photos of my son, insurance info... I am not really sure what I should take... I have insurance on my stuff but despite that some of it is irreplaceable. I heard of an idea that people have a box of the important stuff near an exit that they would pick up when the left. Knowing myself I would have a lot of stuff to take, but the most important thing of all would be my son and myself and my brother getting out alive.

  2. How terrible about the fires, I feel so badly for those people who are losing their homes and everything they own.

    Finally this year I got around to creating an evacuation bag, in case we have to get out quickly. I put into it clothes, toiletries, a compact but extensive first-aid kit, and a few other necessities that we would need if we had to leave everything behind. I also put into the bag my Personal size Filofax that I no longer use. I keep it updated with all of my contact, reference, and other important information, including all our insurance policies. Worst-case scenario, I grab the bag and go out the door and I have everything I really need.

    I keep the bag downstairs in my office near my fire-proof file box, so I can scoop out the contents and throw it in the bag. Also nearby are a few of my favorite family photos that I would not be able to replace. And my A5 Filo is nearby too. So depending on how much time I have, I can either just grab the bag, or take a few more minutes to throw in other items too.

    A scary thought, but you never know when you will be faced with an emergency situation. This is my favorite thing about my Filofax, and Filofaxes in general--it's a place to have all of my important information together on the go. When I travel, I feel comfortable knowing that everything I need is there in my Filo. When something goes wrong, my Filo is the first place I turn for information. And in an emergency situation, I would definitely want it with me.