What if you had 15 minutes’ notice to leave your home, and you didn’t know when you’d be coming back — or what shape your home would be when you did?
Could you find your key documents, medications, ID, devices, cables? Sturdy shoes, suitable clothing, stuff to comfort your kids and control your pets? Mementos, valuables, things you couldn’t live without? While trying to stay calm, keep your family calm, and figure out what’s going on?
I ponder this, sometimes, as an academic exercise: when I’m watching horrific tornado footage, or wondering how far inland a tropical storm is going to come. I’ve lived on a hurricane coast (Texas) and in a tornado alley (Minnesota), and I thought regularly about preparedness while I lived there. But now I live mostly in Atlanta, and sometimes in inland Maine, and my rare thoughts about preparedness extend mostly to keeping documents in a fireproof safe and making sure the flashlights scattered around the house have good batteries.
Last night I learned how shortsighted that was. TL;DR: All’s well, my house didn’t burn down, and I got a useful reminder about how you can be taken by surprise.