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Do you have an Evacuation Plan?

The afternoon that the Lower North Fork Fire started, I received a text alert on my cell phone from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. It was a “MANDATORY EVACUATION” notice, and my heart leapt into my throat. I looked out my home office window in Arvada to see a huge plume of smoke to the south.

A mandatory evacuation?!

My immediate thought went to our Evacuation Plan. In my head, I started our four step process:

1) Where is Claire, my kindergartener? (in her room playing)
2) Where are my cats? (both asleep on our bed)
3) How quickly can I get to the three “Go-Bag” backpacks we have hanging downstairs? (less than 30 seconds)
4) All of this was followed quickly by my plan to call my husband at work from my phone when we got to the car. (My cell phone connects through my car stereo as a totally hands-free option.)

Fifteen seconds later, I read the text again and realized that my cell phone number had been lumped into a group of numbers in a different area of the county. The text didn’t apply to me.

But, it could have.

Could you evacuate your home in less than an hour? What about 15 minutes? Could you leave right now? Would you know what to grab and where it is, right at this moment?