The Water Cooler – Evacuating During A Wildfire – What Would You Grab?

November 9, 2018 12:00 pm · 24 comments


The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon.

Today’s question….

With so many fires burning in California every year, it’s only a matter of time before we’re hit with another big fire in Contra Costa County.

QUESTION: Do you have a fire safety plan in case you have to immediately evacuate during a fire, or will you just grab what you can if it happens?

Also, besides your family and pets, what would you grab first if you had to leave within 5 minutes?

Talk about it….

TraumaRx November 9, 2018 at 12:12 PM

Guns, Rolex collection, 100k cash, and bible.

Dawg November 9, 2018 at 12:12 PM

My cat, credit cards and car keys would be the first things I grab. Then I’d head out of town to a friend or relative’s house and wait until it’s all over.
That’s the only plan I have.

Pyrrhus November 9, 2018 at 12:17 PM

Important paperwork, phone chargers, the network hard drives (This contains our photos), and a change of clothes (if time permits). Everything else can be replaced.

Silva November 9, 2018 at 12:23 PM


Concordejet November 9, 2018 at 12:25 PM

My flower

AnonZ November 9, 2018 at 12:28 PM

My computer and box of hard drives with all our photo’s. Other than that, no set plan.

Jessica November 9, 2018 at 12:50 PM

Home NAS containing daily backups of all computers in the house, plus photos, videos, etc. They are also stored off-site in the cloud but restoring them that way takes time. Rest of our important items are in safety deposit boxes. Everything else is just “things” that would be replaced by insurance.

Aaron M. November 9, 2018 at 1:11 PM

Go bag by front door with meds, first aid, canned food. And maybe my bicycle instead of car.

anon November 9, 2018 at 1:43 PM

I’d grab my old photo albums, wallet & medications. Everything else can be replaced.

Barney R November 9, 2018 at 1:45 PM

We have an underground shelter (fireproof) at our Tahoe Nev property. First thing we put in, we have all important papers always down there and in the house we can grab any predetermined things like pictures on walls and get it all safe. All my guns and ammo is down there as sell. Our dock in the boat is our escape out onto lake if we don’t want to stay in the shelter or can’t get to it depending if house is already in flames.

You have to have a master plan living in wooded areas.
We also have a generator and pump to get water to preinstalled lines and nozzles to soak the rooftops and surrounding trees. plenty of water and generator can run for 8 hours and hopefully enough to keep the heat off house and garages.

Eshaan Chandi November 9, 2018 at 3:57 PM

This man is a legend!

Legend November 9, 2018 at 6:32 PM

He likes to think so.

Jessica November 9, 2018 at 2:27 PM

We were staying at my parents house in Montecito when the fire happened in the hills. We grabbed our pets and vehicles and that was it. Everything else can be replaced.

HopeINeverHaveToEvacuate November 9, 2018 at 4:13 PM

Advice from a friend who lost her home in the Oakland hills fire: If time allows, toss what you want to take on your bedspread, bundle it up and do the same using the blanket, sheets, etc. Don’t take the time to put stuff in suitcases or boxes, etc. The last thing she did was to photograph each room of her house and it’s contents as documentation for the insurance company. Obviously she had time to do all of this.

Roz November 9, 2018 at 4:42 PM

Thanks for sharing the tip(s) with using bed covers,….that will make it easier if needed for clothes, shoes, and items to save. Also have photos of items in the house already done, stored with our Will/Trust and other photos to grab going out the door.

Cellophane November 9, 2018 at 4:23 PM

Legal Documents

Not exactly in that order.

Anonymous November 9, 2018 at 4:32 PM

Gold bullion . In five minutes I could load 500 lbs in the Mercedes. More if the almost worthless butler would help.

Atticus Thraxx November 9, 2018 at 5:47 PM

I hear ya. I let mine go when I found him wrist deep in my pickled pigsfeet jar and wearing my wife’s house slippers and nothing else. Just can’t get good help anymore.

Atticus Thraxx November 9, 2018 at 4:42 PM

My wife.

Dr. Jellyfinger November 11, 2018 at 10:33 PM

Awww… dang it!
Atticus stole my thunder… that’s just what I was going to say too…

Atticus’ wife.

94519 November 9, 2018 at 4:44 PM

Passport, rosary.

Dave November 9, 2018 at 5:18 PM

After the Carr fire I thought deeply about this question. We digitized all of our photo albums and scanned important documents. All are kept on two portable hard drives. One in my fire safe and the other at my dad’s house, in his safe, 200 miles away. I could grab every document and photo I deem precious in 30 seconds. Having a ready kit for the family is a good idea too. It has 72 hours of medications, prescription glasses (last one from a year ago), a change of clothes for each family member, cat/dog food for three days w/ bowls, and 2.5 gallons of water. My list is short. Family, pets, hard drive, ready kit and guitars.

Anonymous November 9, 2018 at 6:32 PM


You are correct . Our butler has a proper English accent. Stuffy and ruled the household help like a despot.

Perfect butler.

Then I found he was really Irish , not English.

They do have their oddities. Mine eschewed pickled pigs feet and enjoys collecting Ken And Barbie dolls. Keeping him for now.

OverWhelmed November 10, 2018 at 8:03 AM

Until you have been in a serious evacuation situation you do not know what you will take if anything. Most people will be fleeing to stay alive and not worring about “stuff”

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