Homestead Emergency Preparedness



Snowpack Is Dangerously Low

Over the years we have watched with heartbreak when wildfires have devastated an area. It seems that now our area is more vulnerable due to extreme drought and wildfires are at the forefront of our minds. Therefore this blog topic is about being prepared and having a plan should such a tragedy occur.  Normally our life here is utopia with birds chirping and the gentle breeze in the treetops. That is until we experience a severe drought like this year. We normally receive around 265-300” of snow which is the moisture we need to see us through the remainder of the year. This year we only received 105” of snow which has put us in peril. We have periods where the gentle breeze blows, the wildflowers bloom, the birds sing their songs, the deep well water is sparkling and pure and the air is clear and refreshing; but that is not to be this year.  

Weather Abnormalities 

We have to be prepared for and anticipate the unexpected that always seems to be right around the next corner of life here in the mountains. As I write this our air is filled with smoke from what we presume is the wildfire in New Mexico or Durango, CO. We have nice gentle breezes but we also have strong winds that topple trees and cause power outages, like last night.  Wind in the mountains changes direction often and is controlled by the contour of the gullies and ridges of the mountains. Colorado is a semi-arid state and for the past several weeks we have been doing last minute wildfire mitigation. We have been in red flag warning for several weeks and our part of the state is in exceptional drought conditions - the highest.

Factor In Disabilities

Throughout the west we are facing perilous conditions like wildfire or high wind. Weather patterns seem to me to be cyclical and we are in one of those heightened dangerous times presently. It requires having a plan to evacuate or to stay in place if cut off from safe evacuation. We have two disabled canine family members who do not have full use of their back legs so we need to factor that into our plans. We are not as agile as we once were so that too has to be considered. We need to have those items which are important ready to load so we can grab them quickly as time can be very limited. We keep a current list of those things to take with us so we don’t forget something necessary and important.

Evacuate Or Stay?

We also need to consider which direction the potential wildfire could come from and determine if it is safe to even try to evacuate. We only have one entrance/exit to our community. We need to shut off all propane sources, turn on the mist system, pack essentials like clothes, prescriptions, records, and computers just in case evacuation is a viable option. Due to the configuration and construction of our small home we could stay in place if we lacked a safe and secure escape route. Our location is remote so the likelihood of a safe departure could at best carry risk. All these considerations need to be evaluated ahead of time and options weighed and prioritized when clear thinking is possible.

Keeping Fur Family Safe

For us we must consider our three German Shepherd Dogs and their safety. Two have disabilities so that factors into the equation. One has a slipped disc that limits the mobility of his back legs. Another has been diagnosed with cauda equina which is an inflammation of the spinal canal where the nerves extend down to the rear extremities. Both would need extra assistance in being loaded into a vehicle. There is no chance we would leave without them nor is there any amount of persuasion that could compel us to leave them. Many evacuation centers will not allow fur family so we have a large tent that will house us and our canine family if needed. We need to pack their prescriptions, food bowls, food and leashes also. Therefore, depending on conditions, we have to be constantly prepared for fluctuating situations and sometimes when they are at a heightened level as they currently are we must not only be vigilant but ready to act quickly and affirmatively.

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