California Fires Are Wakeup Call For Preparedness

California Fires in Santa Rosa

California fires are burning down everything in their path. Towns, neighborhoods and businesses have been burnt to the ground.

While looking at images of the devastation it looks like a war zone.

As of this posting 3,500 structures have been destroyed, 23 people have been killed, 285 remain missing, and 170,000 acres have been scorched to the ground.

Homes have been reduced to ash and rubble.

This got me to thinking about preparedness and how it relates to out-of-control fires.

Fires in Northern California

Preparedness For Fire

What strikes me when I look at pictures of burnt out neighborhoods is that EVERYTHING can easily and quickly be burnt to the ground.

All of your ‘stuff’ in your home and on your property… gone.

While we often focus on preparedness items, what really matters is your life. If you’re alive, you can find a way to recover from having lost your home and your ‘stuff’.

That said, what are some of the things we can do to prepare for fire?

Fires Can Move Fast: Get Out

Parts of our country are more susceptible to this than others. Fast moving fire. Winds will send burning embers a very long way downwind and spread the fire. This can happen very fast.

Dry conditions, ample undergrowth ‘fuel’ (brush), and wind. All you need now is a spark.

You can be many miles away from a burning fire and suddenly your own neighborhood goes up in flames.

If you know there’s a fire burning in the region, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to get out. To evacuate. There’s a chance that if you wait too long, you will not be able to get out at all…

All Your Eggs In One Basket

Most all of us have many eggs in one basket when it comes to our physical preps. Our food storage, deep pantry, all those extra consumable supplies, you name it… It’s in our homes, our basements, our garage, our outbuildings, etc..

What happens when a devastating fire roars through?
It’s all gone.

Proof Of Possession For Fire Insurance Claim

You do have fire insurance right?

First and foremost, the physical structure of your home can be replaced with payout from a fire insurance claim.

Beyond that, the coverage of contents within your home will depend on your policy. So check it out (your policy). There likely are limits and restrictions. Find out what they are and make adjustments to your policy if you think it’s important.

You will probably need to prove that you had those contents. Two very effective ways to assist in proof of contents is to photograph what you have and / or video what you have.

One room at a time, take pictures or video (I do both) the entire room. Open closets and do the same. Think about contents in drawers. Open boxes, look everywhere, think about anything of value. You will not miss anything so long as you systematically go through each room and every space in the room. Don’t forget the basement, attic, or wherever you may have stored items.

CAUTION: Don’t keep the only copy of proof in your home (it will be lost with everything else).

You might consider a safety deposit box at your bank. You could keep electronic copies somewhere “in the cloud”. I keep electronic copies on a flash drive kept on my key chain.

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Replacing those Preps

You can replace the ‘stuff’ that you had in your home. If you have insurance it will be easier, although payout might take awhile. If you don’t have coverage for contents, it’s going to cost money and you will essentially be starting over.

So, that brings up another point. It is a very good idea to save money for “a rainy day”. You never know when a situation will arise whereby you will need to draw on reserves.

That means maintaining a budget that enables you to save money. I have written lots of articles on that topic, however the simple premise is to live BELOW your means. The more you live below your means, the quicker you can save significant reserve funds.

We all make choices regarding our income versus lifestyle. You are in control of your own destiny in that regard. So just be aware.

Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide To Money

Related article:
To Be As Debt Free As You Can Be

CONCLUSION: The fires in California have devastated many families. It reminded me of how quickly we can lose everything “material”. We can spend our entire lives acquiring and refining our ‘stuff’ but it can all be gone in a minute. Think about that. Think about what you would do if you lost it all.

Lives trump ‘stuff’. But if you do lose all your ‘stuff’, do you have a plan?