You have to evacuate right now. What 5 things do you take with you?

I’ve heard this question a lot of times relating to various situations, and I’ve always regarded it as something you can’t truely answer until you’ve been in that sort of situation.

My list is the cat, my cell phone and charger, my WoW install discs, and my camera. Maybe not the best list in the world, but when the adrenaline is pumping you don’t exactly think straight.

In other words, I had the scariest afternoon in my life today. Around 2:30 one of the neighbours called, probably to talk to my mother who wasn’t home, but she told me that she could smell smoke and it looked like there was a forest fire a ways behind her house. I’d just gotten out of the shower, but once I got my glasses on, sure enough there was a large band of grey on the horizon, over the trees, in that direction. I watch it for a while, then get another call saying that the police had been to her house–the fire had jumped the road and was out of control, get the important stuff together in case we need to evacuate.

So here’s me, home by myself, and while I don’t have a lot that’s sentimental and irreplacable, I have no idea what my parents would want. Plus I can see the smoke, as well as fire trucks from two departments going back and forth with more water. I got pretty freaked, and was anything but calm–I was most certainly in tears at some points. Fortunately, here’s where friends and family come in–I called a friend nearby to see if I could go to her place if really necessary. She suggested I call any family instead. I couldnt’ bring myself to because I was so shaken, but fortunately one of my aunts heard about it and called to see how we were doing. Between her and my neighbour I was able to collect myself enough to start packing things (jewelry, clothes, the strongbox and mom’s truckload of photoalbums, mom’s record collection, etc.) My parents eventually got home, after having to convince a police officer to let them through the barricade, and at that point I was finally able to really calm down.

At this point, the cars are still packed (we have three vehicles we can drive, thankfully–a car, a wagon and a pick-up), but things have calmed down a lot–there’s been a number of emergency vehicles go by without lights flashing, and there’s hardly any smoke. The fire wasn’t really moving in our direction either, fortunately.

Now…are we all getting together like the desert island scenario? Cause if it is, we can talk toctors into bringing tongue depressors, stethoscopes and the like, i can bring my porn and a hockey stick among things…you know…everyone can bring useful stuff.

Someone can bring a tv…someone can bring an xbox…you get the drift.

Are we talking 5 “things” or 5 trips to the car? I have 8 cats, so that would take about 3 trips. I could get my game-worn hockey jerseys and my favorite picture of my mom in 1 trip. Then the last trip for the important papers.

What a scary situation! It sounds like you chose well- photo albums would be top on my list, the strong box held important papers and such. That was cool-headed thinking!

I was wondering why you felt it would be hard to call a family member? Your aunt sounded helpful, maybe you can turn to her in an emergency next time (not that there will be a next time!!).

My list, after family members-

photo albums
cell phone
medications we take
The purely sentimental list would look really different!

Take care!


I keep my toothbrush, toothpaste, deoderant, comb, and acne treatment in my kit bag by the bathroom sink. I would definitely take that. Likewise my laptop computer, which I usually keep in its carrying case along with the power cord and ethernet cable. After that, I suppose I would have to choose between clothes and books; I really don’t have anything else worth evacuating.

my passport, my 9mm, my backpack, a warm jacket, and my sense of humor

Assuming the wife can handle her own evacuation…

bug-out bag (which has clothing, toiletries, shoes, money, .45, etc.)
emergency money
vital papers bag (passports, copies of insurance papers, deeds, titles, etc., along with twice-yearly updated CD of necessary computer files)
camping box

We live in earthquake country. We always have supplies packed, and a lighter version of the kit, including first-aid supplies and water is always in the truck.

Thank you! I’m sitting here thinking about cats, photo albums, and books – meds didn’t even cross my mind. Good thinking! :slight_smile:

Well, I have my aunt and neighbour to thank for that–talking to them really helped me to think straight. I’m not very sentimental, and I’m the absolute opposite of my mother when it comes to photos–shes takes loads, I still have a film in my other camera from over two years ago. Really, they suggested what I should take, and after taking care of the basics (photos, the strong box and at least a few full changes of clothes for each of us) I was able to think straight enough on my own to figure out what should be next. Although one of the first things I thought of was a box for the cat–partially to (maybe) keep her constrained, and partially because she gets carsick. I didn’t find the cat until after my parents came home though–she was sleeping in the closet while I was freaking out. Damn cats.

It was hard for me to call a relative just because I was so worked up–I was choking up quite bad, and my pride wouldn’t allow me to call someone when I knew my voice was so shakey.

Fire’s out now, and I just went down with Mom to see where it went–it doesn’t seem like it ever came particularly close to my house. One of her friends though had her house doused, and I can see why–the fire came extremely close to it, and jumped the road right next to where she lives.

Right now right now? The only thing I’m likely to grab is my purse/wallet. It would take me time to track down the other important stuff.

My photo album from Africa, my memory quilt, my wallet, a disc with my resume on it, and the CD of my college singing group. Subject to change if I ever really have to evacuate.

When we were asked to pick one item to rescue from a burning house in a high school class, we were assured that “things with legs” would get themselves out. This was to prevent the rescue of parents, siblings, cats and dogs. The class proceeded to imagine that such items as tables, chairs and drumsets also managed to make their way out onto the lawn.

My journals, my laptop & discs, the cats, and the answering machine tape I have of my grandma and grandpa’s voices. I assume that my cell phone would already be on me, as well as my wallet, since I carry those every day. I’d probably also grab the cell phone charger and my athame. The rest of my shit can be replaced. But my writing, my pets, and that tape can’t.

If I have to evacuate, right now, I’m grabbing a book or magazine. Everything else I’ll need is already in the bathroom. :smiley:

My tractor, my dog, my desktop computer, my Lisp Machine (a MacIvory II–I don’t use it much, but I love it), and my filing cabinet.

Inspired by Metacom’s answer, I realized I only need to take one thing: my dorm room. If I have that, I’m all set.

Oh, fine:

  1. My laptop and its cables
  2. My external hard drive and its cables
  3. Wallet
  4. Cell phone
  5. Meds

safe (holds titles, birth certificates, emergency cash)
my computer
hard copies of pictures
my teeth
key rings

My husband, the dogs and my medications and my deceased uncle’s BB gun. (Sentimental to my family.)

Everything else is completely replacable.

My external HD, my folder with important papers, my backpack with said folder in it, and some clothes. Meds.

I think that’s all I’d grab.

My cats(I count them as one thing because I’d stick 'em in the same carrier in spite of their protests.

Picture albums.

An simple orange candy dish from my grandmother’s home. It’s one of my earliest memories from visiting her, and my most valued physical possesion. If I could take only a single physical item, it would be that dish, before anything else.

Important documents(they’re all together anyway)

My purse. It has all my small necessaries.
Sure, I’d need clothes and food, but I have no sentimental attachment to any particular item, and with the purse I’d have my credit card to buy more.


Wallet & Passport


(I’d put Cat on the list too but he is a bastard and would rather kill me than go into his carrier, so I’d just let him out and hope that he could survive without us)

DVD with all of our baby’s pics burned onto it (yes we have such a back-up)

Hubby of course!