20 minutes to evacuate your home: What do you take?

Inspired by today’s evacuations in advance of the California wildfires:

You have 20 minutes to evacuate your home in advance of a fire. You can take only what you can carry in two pillow cases.

What do you take?


One pillowcase for photographs and small family heirlooms I possess. (A ring that belonged to my mother, my grandfather’s stick pin, etc.)

The other pillowcase for items easily converted to cash: a coin collection and a few high-value comic books of mine would add up to a nice sum.

How about you?

Cats. But they aren’t going to like the pillowcase idea. Everything else is just ‘stuff’.

The digital cband satellite receiver in one pillow case and the PC in the other.

My kid.

OK, that’s one pillow case…


He’s only two, he would fit! I would probably take my wedding album in the second pillowcase.

My laptop - not for its monetary value but for all the pictures, documents, etc on it.

The other pillowcase - hmmmm, I guess an extra pair of shoes, spare undies, etc.

I would miss my comic books an awful lot. Not even 1/10th of them would fit into two pillowcases.

Ah, this brings back memories of fleeing from my own wildfire three summers ago. The answer was my passport/other vital documents, some family photos, my favorite sweater, and my journal.

And my travel Scrabble set so we could have something to do while waiting for the all clear.

Hmm… The computer itself wouldn’t fit in a pillowcase (thought it’s not much larger than one) but all I’d really want is the hard drive for music and pictures, so I might snag that. It’d take about five minutes.

The signed copy of The Left Hand Of Darkness. Best present a girlfriend ever got me. All other books are replaceable.

Maybe my uncle’s backpack. A good hiking pack is valuable enough, and this is the pack he tramped around Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Tibet in.

My black jacket. I like that jacket. Maybe my nice suede coat and my hiking boots too.

My purse holds more than a pillowcase!

2 pillowcases = 1 cat per pillowcase.

If they let me take cat carriers AND pillowcases, then passport, prescription drugs, textbooks, cat food, and a flashdrive with pictures. Everything else is replaceable.

20 minutes? Hell, that’s plenty of time.

First into the car is the kids- strapped into their booster seats so they aren’t underfoot. I will grab each kid’s blankie and favorite stuffed animal.

Next, my laptop, EJ’s laptop and our PC tower. Still in the office, I grab the file folder with all of our legal docs- mortgage, birth certificates, passports, marriage certificate, deed to the house, wills & trusts, etc. It’s all in one place. Then RUN to the bathroom and get my birth control. :smiley:

Back downstairs to grab the pictures and photo albums (including the ones off the walls). Back upstairs for hats and jackets for everybody.

Into the garage for our “big earthquake” emergency supplies, if there is room- a backpack with a ton of emergency stuff in it, plus food and water.

If I still have more time/space, I am afraid what I might go back for- designer handbags, my skinny jeans, a ton of paperback books, the flat screen TV… :wink:

ETA- ooooooh, EJ just had a good idea- spend a minute or two taking digital pictures of the inside of every room in your house.

Laptop. There’s one pillowcase. After that, my bag of nostalgia stuff from my travels. It’s already pretty much packed even. Oh, and the two kanji books I’m studying now.

I sure would feel bad for the rest of my books though.

How do I fit 5 dogs (with a combined weight of 400 lbs), 4 cats and two horses in two pillowcases without a chainsaw?


pillowcase #1= PC tower (with all personal files, contacts lists, photos, music collection, etc)

pillowcase #2= insurance & bank documents, paperwork, wallet, keys, a bag of marshmallows, chocolate, graham wafers, and a stick

Not terribly sentimental or exciting. It helps that I just moved into my new place and am neither burdened with a lot of ‘stuff’ nor particularly attached to it all.

Cat, purse (containing wallet and phone), computer, and jewelry my grandmother gave me. If I have room leftover my medical instruments and the books for whatever rotation I’m doing at the time.

I think I could get a lot done it 20 minutes and my choices would change depending on where I would be able to go. Is there a comfy hotel on the other end with electricity and wifi? Do I have to prepare to live out of my car for the forseeable future?

My dogs.

Irreplaceable stuff from hub’s stint in Afghanistan.

Memorabilia from our parents who are now gone.

My laptop and cellphone.

Things to do (book, puzzle book, markers)

Cat in one pillow case. Second would be my lap top, camera and lens. Hey, their king size. :smiley:

Pillowcases, I don’t need no steenking pillowcases!

Step 1; grab fully stocked Bugout Bag backpack by the door (it contains freeze dried food, water purification stuff, firestarting supplies, first aid kit, flashlights and batteries, a couple good stout blades, a “space blanket” tarp, and an old WWII style entrenching tool), stuff in the magazines for my Glock 21 and CZ-75, a couple boxes of ammo for each, holster on the Glock, slap in a fully loaded mag in the Glock (13 rounds of .45 ACP goodness :slight_smile: ), put the CZ in the BOB

step 2; grab my MacBook, and flashdrive with copies of important papers on it, hump the BOB and MacBook down to the car, toss them in the back seat

total elapsed time 5 minutes or so, with the next 5 minutes, I load up the rest of my firearms, and my ammo supply into the car

Step 3; the next 10 minutes are spent grabbing some canned goods from the pantry, a couple 5 gallon water bottles of water that I keep pre-filled for emergencies, some cold weather gear , and finally, track down the two cats and take them with me (that’ll probably bring me right to the 20 minute cutoff point)

having a Bugout bag ready to go cuts down drastically on the preparing-to-go time, just grab it and head out the door

Um, the OP said evacuating because of a fire, not the apocalypse. You only have two hands, how many firearms do you need? :dubious: