Sunday, September 11, 2011

Open in Case of Emergency

When I was growing up my mom used to have a wooden plaque on her dresser that said “Open in case of Emergency” on the outside.  When you opened it, a cartoon drawing of a man with an enormous mouth said “Not now, stupid, in case of emergency!”  I always forgot what the inside said, although I knew it was somehow insulting, and every time I opened it I was again chastised for doing so when it wasn’t really an emergency.  Thankfully our house never caught fire, because I would have had nothing to tell me what to do.

I was reminded of my need to be prepared for disaster yesterday, when the news reported a wildfire near the intersection of hwy 211 and Potranco Rd.  This intersection is about 3 miles from my house.  I called Heather, who was grocery shopping, and told her to take an alternate road home, as 211 likely would be un-navigable.  Of course, on the way home I missed the turn at the alternate road that goes north to Potranco, so I had to try the 211, only to be turned around by police officers who were blocking the road.  As I approached my home I could see the billows of smoke from the fire that was moving its way north across the highway.  As I drove I was working through my game plan if the road to my house was also blocked off and my neighborhood evacuated, who to call, where to stay.  I had just finished working out, so a shower was in order, although I would have to buy some clothes to change into first, if I couldn’t get home.  I quickly realized that even though we have only been here a little over a month, I would have no problem finding a place for Heather and us to stay, either with a family from our church or fellow Air Force co-workers.  The fire may cause some disruption in our lives, but wouldn’t be a serious detriment to our well being.

Fortunately, the road wasn’t blocked, and I was able to get home without any issues.  Heather and I discussed what we would pack if we were evacuated - pictures, medicine, some clothes, and our laptops being the main items.  Again, we were fortunate in that the evacuation order never came for us, although the news said some people were evacuated from the residential area where we live, presumably a couple of miles to the south.  The fire is now 100% contained and life is back to mundane.  As we mark the 10th anniversary of 9-11, I am reminded how quickly our lives can turn upside down, and that the most important things are not those which can be purchased at a store, but the people in our lives.  In case of emergency, or in everyday living, they are the ones we turn to for assistance, and I thank God for placing them in my life.