What to take, what to leave behind in the event of fire | SummitDaily.com

What to take, what to leave behind in the event of fire

by Jane Stebbins

SUMMIT COUNTY – Greg Abernathy of Breckenridge would take his dog, his guns and his photos.

For Stacy Schroeder of Dillon, it would be a backpack and some clothes.

Lynn Teters of Fairplay would grab her computer – and her fireproof safe.

Glenn Ammon of Heeney – like many others – doesn’t know what he would take if he were given a half-hour – or 10 minutes – to evacuate his home in the face of an oncoming fire.

But fire and insurance officials are urging people to take inventory of their possessions, check up on their insurance policies and make a short list of items they want to take. Some already have taken precautions, locking documents in safe deposit boxes, placing valuable items in fireproof safes, packing items in boxes and putting them by the front door or in their car, or even moving items to friends’ and relatives’ homes in other cities.

A general rule is to take what can’t be purchased again and leave behind what can.

“Take birth certificates, passports, your deed to the house, Social Security cards, marriage licenses, the checkbook, driver’s license,” said George Osborne II of State Farm Insurance in Dillon. “Those are the things they (fire officials) are going to ask to see when you want to go back and look at the house. If you don’t have them, they’ll say, “Sorry, Charlie.’ Bring anything that will get your life back together down the road.”

Photos are important, especially when it comes time to make an insurance claim. According to U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Jamie Connell, the thing people most wish they’d brought with them when their house burned down is photos of bygone events.

“If your photos are lost, we’re going to pay you the cost of the film and the development, but you’re never going to be able to recapture the moments,” Osborne said. “We had a woman who had some flood damage and lost 2,000 photos. We gave her a couple hundred dollars, but you can’t go back to Europe when you were 30.”

Items to consider bringing:

n Pets – and pet food

n Important papers: property deeds, passports, Social Security cards, marriage license, checkbook

n Computers or floppy discs onto which information has been backed up

n Photographs

n Family heirlooms

n Change of clothing

n Prescription medication, preferably in the original bottle

n Tent, sleeping bags, pillows

n Snack food and water

n Items of value such as baseball cards, stamp, coin and other collections

n Jewelry

“Basically it comes down to what you feel is valuable to you,” said Wilma Shifflette of Farmer’s Insurance Group in Frisco. “Everyone’s different. What’s valuable to me is not valuable to someone else.”

Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or jstebbins@summitdaily.com.

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