I’m always prepared for this possibility.

As I’m a naturally paranoid and frightened person all the time, I have a bag within reach of me at all times that contains everything I can’t replace in the event of fire, tornado, or some other kind of catastrophe that destroys our house.  When I’m at my desk, it’s alongside me.  When I’m in bed, it’s alongside me on the floor.  It’s basically an oversize purse that I can fit my laptop and charger into, along with my external hard drive, cell phone, wallet, keys, and photos that I don’t have saved to my external hard drive.  So that would be the first thing I grabbed.  Next would be the metal box in my parents’ closet that contains essential documents.  That’s two.  The third thing I’d grab would be a suitcase we keep in the hall closet downstairs that has a few days’ worth of clothes for all of us, along with extra toiletries.  We live in an area where tornadoes can be possible over the summer, so something we can keep with us if we need to evacuate is smart, especially if our house is destroyed and all the rest of our clothes with it.  I’m assuming in this scenario that everyone grabs their own wallets and cell phones on their way out the door.  The fourth thing I’d grab is food for our pets.  The things I’m grabbing are in a progression from the upstairs to the front door, so I’m not running all over the house in this case.  The dog food is on the counter, the cat food is in the pantry.  The fifth and final thing I’d grab, depending on the weather, are our coats, hanging up by the front door.  Since we have assumed all the other humans and animals are safely outside, hopefully in my sister’s car which is parked in the driveway, rather than the garage, I can just grab them all and run outside.  So to recap:

  1. My “Go” bag containing all my essential items
  2. Metal box containing sensitive documents
  3. Suitcase from hall closet
  4. Food for pets
  5. Depending on weather, coats from coat rack

To cut down on time, I could have some of those things already out the door as a result of being taken out by the other members of the household, so in theory, I wouldn’t have to do all of that myself.  If that’s the case, and I had time to grab a couple of other things from my room before leaving, I’d grab my record case, a stuffed animal my late grandmother gave me when I was 10 years old, and maybe a pillow, since I don’t like sleeping on any pillow but my own.  I can only hope that the fire we’re all fleeing won’t utterly destroy the house, so that some of our things will just suffer from water or smoke damage, which is better than being reduced to ash.

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