By Laurie Stoupe
There’s a wildfire burning in our county. About 2,000 acres had burned as of yesterday evening. A fire break was being created around 4,000 acres. Sarah is out of school today because families were evacuated to the high school gymnasium.
I had awaken early in the morning on Monday to the smell of wood smoke. Andrew assured me it was nothing, and I went back to sleep but with an uneasy feeling. Now please be assured that the fire is still half a county away from me. What I smelled had simply been carried on the wind. But it is close enough to me to make me sit up and take notice.
I was checking on the internet to see where the fire is compared to our house. I found a map that shows that we are in a high risk area for wild fires. That was a wake-up call. I had recently told a friend that I live in a pretty safe area. Mountainous areas tend to break up tornadoes. We’re far enough inland not to have huge problems with hurricanes. We’re not in an earthquake zone (actually we have them, but they are so light no one notices, I’ve been told). We live on the top of a ridge, so you know we have zero concerns about flooding. I’ve always said that if we get flooded up here, it’s all over for everyone!
So all of a sudden, I am awake to the possibility that one day there may be knock on the door from the National Guard saying that we have one hour to evacuate.
And no matter where you are or how safe you think you are, something could happen in your neighborhood, too.
I’d like to think that I’d be level-headed should such occur here. My first priority would be inside the house. Family members, prescription medication, our indoor dogs, and financial information. I’ve probably ignored those prompts to backup my financial information and my rabbitry data once too many. But my memory stick from my computer would definitely be one of the things to collect. Would you like to re-enter every rabbit that is now in your database? I surely wouldn’t!
The last thing from the house that I would definitely take is my pedigree book.
That may sound silly to you, but my whole rabbit life is organized in there. Hey, I can reorder birth certificates for my kids, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin in reassembling that book!
Now we come to the really difficult part. Even with my rabbitry down to its smallest size in quite some time, I still have more rabbits than I have carriers. Sure, some can double up. Even rabbits that would normally fight, probably won’t do so while riding in the car. It’s not optimal, but better than dying from smoke inhalation or dying from the fumes from a chemical spill.
I generally keep tags on my cages that could easily be transferred to my carriers. That would help me keep animals straight. My concern, of course, is for those that I have not yet tattooed. I could wipe out 4 months of work by confusing all of my tort juniors!
So I guess I’d better start tattooing my juniors at a little younger age. That would eliminate a lot of problems.
Also, I need to buy more carriers. I should calculate what it would take to evacuate my barn, doubling up juniors, and make sure I have that many on hand. Of course, there’s the limitation of the vehicle to be considered. I can’t exactly leave two children behind to add more carriers! So I guess now would be a good time to coordinate with my parents who live next door and have a full sized van. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to talk with both them and my sister next door to them to determine where the family would meet up in case of evacuation.
It would be a good idea to keep at least half a tank in the van, in case we do need to leave the area.
I don’t want to live my life on the edge all of the time, waiting for a disaster. But by taking a few minutes to go over our plan, say once a year, I can make whatever preparations are necessary and then not worry about it the rest of the time.
I took the time to research the appropriate fire extinguisher for my barn (pressurized water) and to track one down. Now I need to spend some time making evacuation plans. And then hope that I never need them.