Monday, November 12, 2007

So lucky

It's been about 3 weeks since the horrible fires that ravaged San Diego and things are finally starting to calm down in my town of Rancho Bernardo. I didn't see anyone wearing a mask this weekend and the media seems to be giving us a break. The National Guard has gone home, the recovery center has disbanded and I finally saw an actual soccer game at the park that had become the hub for everything, littered with FEMA trailers and Allstate reps.

I still think about it every day and need to write down all the details so I don't forget them, but that will come at another time soon but for now it's still a bit too fresh. Since photography is my main hobby and now I practically see everything as a potential photo I've found it important for me to record some of what we went through and went on around here. To document the damage to my home town and hopefully the regrowth. You can see them here.

I haven't taken that many pictures in the last few weeks since we were trying to be extremely sensitive to our neighbors, not wanting to add to anyone's pain or invade precious privacy. And really, within a few days the lookie-loo's were so bad all the of streets that lost homes were closed to all but residents anyway and rightly so, but I think it's important to see what the earth is capable of and hopefully wake us all up to try and be proactive, just in case.

We're still cringing a little every time we hear a siren but we sure do appreciate all the hard work our firefighters and police put in to keep our homes safe from fire and theft. (I heard about one house that was looted twice while the residents were mandatory evacuated. Such assholes among heroes.) Thankfully there are good stories to go along with the bad.

And my advice to everyone - please be prepared.

Keep a small fire extinguisher next to your stove, you can get one for $16 at Target. Have important paperwork in one place and available to grab. Keep an emergency kit under your bed and in your car with a full set of clothing, gloves, flashlight, a crank radio in one, food and water. If you get the warning that something is coming don't think it'll probably be OK. I've heard more than one story where people didn't think the fire would reach them and they literally ran out of the house with the clothes on their backs (my neighbor with a 3 year-old included who regrets being unaware and caught unprepared.) You can buy pre-made kits or at least get ideas of what to put together from the Red Cross.

If you're anti-cell phone get over it. Whitey didn't have a phone (for financial reasons) during our hell and it was horrible. Trying to make sure we didn't lose each other on the roads when we had no idea where we were going or ending up after being evacuated TWICE sucked giant sweaty balls. He has a fucking phone now and it only cost $25 to get and activate with 80 minutes that are good for 6 months.

Put a kit or kits together for your animals. It's against the law to leave an animal behind and they deserve to be protected. I already had a pop-up disposable litter box for my cat, a harness and leash and big, sturdy carrier and the first thing I did was get a bag ready for her - food, litter, treats, toys, blankie. She was out-of-sorts but had everything she needed. The ASPCA has info here to give you more ideas about this.

Every morning when I walk out the house and smell the sickly stink of burned homes and hillside I feel for those who lost nearly everything, am SO grateful for what we have and vow to make sure I'm even more prepared for a disaster that I hope doesn't come in the future. I'm not the most organized pea in the pod but I have (almost all) the important stuff all in one place now. It's not that hard. And please, be safe and smart.


BipolarLawyerCook said...

What an amazing photo set. Thanks for documenting this.

Avalon said...

Betty~~ Thanks for the kick in the ass. I always consider myself such a safety freak, and I know I should have all these items ready. i have just never actually done it. it's on my list for the weekend.

NouveauBlogger said...

Good photos, good advice and good you and yours are safe and sound.