I'm from Lafayette, Colorado. It's a couple miles from neighboring Louisville and Superior, which were hit with 100+ MPH winds that knocked down power lines and started major grass fires today. So far over 600 homes have burned to their foundations, and the fires are still raging. The unbelievably strong winds have overturned semi trucks and collapsed buildings, and made it virtually impossible to fight the flames. I don't know how many of my friends have lost homes or been otherwise affected. I'm grateful that my parents' house seems to have been spared, but my heart breaks for all who were directly touched by this tragedy.
Here are some things I spoke to my parents about when they prepared to evacuate:
-Gather medications, glasses, contacts, changes of clothing, cash, credit cards, keys, phone chargers, important documents, hygiene items, first aid, child and pet care products, and any other items that have sentimental value or cannot be replaced.
-Disconnect propane tanks from grills and move them away from structures. Bring outdoor furnishings and other flammable items indoors. If there's time, fill up buckets with water and place them around the house (do not leave water running in faucets or hoses). Keep hoses connected to valves for firefighters should they need them.
-If you need to evacuate, unplug fans and A/C units. Close all windows and doors before doing so.
-In a disaster of this magnitude, do not call 911 unless there is immediate risk to your personal safety.
-Check in on neighbors - especially anyone who is elderly or disabled, and those with young children. Make sure they are prepared and able to evacuate.
-Wear fitted full-coverage clothing, heavy-duty shoes, face masks, and eye covering. If you need to evacuate, know exactly where you're going and confirm no roads on your route are reported as blocked. Plan several routes in case one becomes impassible.
-Along with radio and TV, Twitter is a very good resource for getting real-time emergency information from official sources and news outlets.
-As soon as the order to evacuate comes, DO NOT HESITATE. Homes and belongings can be replaced. You can't.