Are you prepared?

Fikes Living Room . Fire.jpg

Outside her home, she looked up the street and saw fire and smoke billowing down the Montecito hills. Running inside she gathered her family and pets. Her teenage daughter grabbed the box they had prepared with family photos and vital documents for such a time as this. Back outside they knocked on doors and alerted as many neighbors as possible before heading down to safety. This was the scene at my sister-in-law's home almost two years ago when the "Tea Fire" swept through the hills near Santa Barbara. The next day they got word that their house and belongings were destroyed. We visited them in their rebuilt home Labor Day weekend. It's beautiful and the precious photos, spared from the flames, are prominently displayed on a shelf in the living room.

While I'm not a promoter of doom and gloom, I see value in preparing for emergencies and potential disasters. September is National Preparedness Month. To learn how you and your family can be prepared, see this issue's Timely Tips and visit the links to some helpful websites.

 Smiles amidst the rubble.

Smiles amidst the rubble.


1. Fire Emergency Preparedness

  • Install dual sensor smoke alarms
  • Create and practice an escape plan
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher
  • For more info visit the Fire Safety Website

2. Basic Emergency Supply Kit

  • Water - 1 gal/person/day (3-day supply)
  • Food - 3-day supply of non-perishable food; can opener
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and manual
  • For more info visit the FEMA Website

3. Family Emergency Plan

  • Download and complete a Family Emergency Plan from the
  • FEMA Website
  • Record an emergency contact number in each family member's cell phone and label it "ICE" (In Case of Emergency)
  • Identify a local and out-of-town contact for family members to check in with in case of disaster
  • Identify a family meeting place
  • Inquire about emergency plans at work, daycare, and school
  • Try texting to connect with family members if phone networks are disrupted