10 Minutes to Evacuate – What would you take?

This week, Colorado has again been ravished by fire.  We live at the base of the foothills in Boulder where the Flagstaff Fire was located.  Though nothing in comparison to the tragic losses experienced from the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs, this fire was on the ridge line right above our home.

Tuesday evening, just hours after the fire had begun, I came out of an appointment and saw the smoke billowing over the ridge — huge clouds of black smoke plumed off of Bear Peak which made the peak look like an active volcano.

The edge of the approaching fire was less than two miles from our home and the neighborhoods two streets south were on pre-evacuation alert.  Being the compulsive planner I am, I decided to do a little emergency evacuation prep and took a tour through the house to collect what was truly important.  It was an interesting exercise.

This is the area we run in every morning…

In fact, in a conversation with the CEO of a prominent multi-brand franchise system yesterday, he shared that he takes his team through a similar goal-setting exercise regularly to help them clearly identify what’s important in their lives.

What would you take if you had 10 minutes to evacuate?

An hour later, here’s what was packed and sitting by our back door:

The first thing I packed was my dog Emmie’s box – food, vitamins, medicines, leashes, favorite toys, her favorite bed…she would have everything she needed!

Next came my art – a few special pieces that I have created over the years that bring me great joy

Next – photo albums and hard drives with photos backed up…beautiful memories of many wonderful experiences that I’ve been lucky enough to have in my life

Then practical me showed up – a duffle of my favorite clothes – a few things for both winter and summer

A sleeping bag and sleeping mat in case we needed to camp at a friend’s for a while

Followed by electronics – chargers for phones, laptop, iPad and the gear itself

And finally our 3 key ‘life’ notebooks – one for Emmie’s health records, one for mine, and one with our insurance documents and personal records including passports, birth certificate and corporate documents

That’s it.  A house full of ‘stuff’ distilled down to a manageable pile by the back door and ready to load should we get that reverse 911 call in the middle of the night.  Then I took a walk through the house and photographed every room.  Just in case…

The fire is now more than 30% under control and the pre-evacuation alert has been lifted for all the neighborhoods in South Boulder.

Everyone is hugely relieved and the air is clear and smoke-free this morning.  But I keep thinking about all this stuff that keeps me so busy – moving stuff, organizing stuff, cleaning stuff…and really all I need is that small pile by the back door.

Makes you think…


Katrina and Emmie

PS: Many thanks to all of you who called or emailed to make sure we were okay.  I am genuinely touched by all of our wonderful customers, friends and business colleagues who have been checking in. Knowing that you were thinking of us has been hugely comforting and filled me with a deep gratitude and appreciation for the authentic and loving relationships we value so much.

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