Quandary talks evacuation preparation in triumphant return
Quandary, the old and wise mountain goat, has been around Summit County for ages, and has the answers to all questions about life, love and laws in the High Country. Have a question for Quandary? Email your queries about Summit and the High Country to Quandary@summitdaily.com.
What ever happened to the “Dear Quandary” articles? These were always a hit for my daughter and I to read.
Kevin, this old goat took a long trek deep into the Colorado backcountry hoping to find answers to more of life’s great questions. You know, stuff like what’s the meaning of life? Or, do bears have bad hair days?
In the end, I found two great truths: Abandoned mines really are as dangerous as people claim and my inbox is still empty, minus this fine question from my now-dearest friend and his daughter.
Luckily, all that time in a deep dark place gave this old goat plenty of time to ponder the world, so until I get some questions from our other fine readers, I’ll be happy to answer some queries that popped into my head.
Dear Quandary, I said to myself, do I really need an evacuation kit in case of a wildfire or other emergency?
Well Quandary, I responded to myself, what an excellent and timely question you have posed. As Colorado’s landscape continues to turn into one giant marshmallow roast it can still be easy to feel removed from it all. After all, those are wildfires not city fires, they can’t really pose a risk to town-dwelling mountain folk, right? Wrong.
The great majority of people in the High Country live in Wildland-Urban Interfaces, meaning the risk of wildfire comes right past your immaculately kept garden, blazing all the way to your front door. Everyone in Summit County should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. As the people who live in Wildernest can attest, you never know until that call comes through and you just have to throw your underwear in a suitcase and hope for the best.
There are some simple ways to make sure you aren’t going commando during an evacuation though. Summit Fire & EMS recommends having enough supplies to last you three days for evacuation or two weeks in your home in case a fire maroons you, separating your abode from first responders.
Your emergency kit doesn’t have to be fancy. While it might be more fun to pack your valuables in Louis Vuitton luggage, a reusable grocery bag serves the same purpose. What’s in the bag is far more important than the bag itself.
For an evacuation, you’ll want to have all of your important documents: birth certificates, the deed or lease to your home, insurance policies and passports. You’ll also need to have proof of your address. When an evacuation does occur, emergency crews are like the Black Knight in a Monty Python production and “none shall pass” the perimeter without proof they live in the area.
Beyond the paperwork, you’ll also want to keep extra cash and batteries in your kit, emergency contact information, a first aid kit, emergency blanket and flashlight. Aside from these essentials, think about what you really need to be able to survive without access to your home. Depending on your generation and bushwhacking ability, your first thought might have turned to your cellphone and charger or food and water. Take all of it – for food plan on a three-day supply and for water estimate needing one gallon per day per person. Also, make sure to take deodorant and other hygiene items; everyone in the shelters is suffering enough without having to deal with the stinky kid in class. Finally, make sure you have a seven-day supply of all your medications and any other medical equipment you might need — don’t forget the charger for portable oxygen.
Depending on how many people and pets are in your posse, you may also need baby food, diapers and the like or dog food, bowls and Fluffy’s leash. Again, you don’t want to be the guy at the shelter trying to keep Cujo tied up with some dental floss. For any additional information on evacuation kits or procedures visit SummitFire.org.
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