Vol. 11, No. 11 – Feb 28 – Mar 13, 2018 – Person to Person

by Jennifer Tipton

What have the Thomas Fires taught us? Do you have an evacuation plan and what would be the top 3 items you’d grab?

Barbara Bean
age 88
retired teacher
“Oh yes, I have an evacuation plan and a little bag packed because I was evacuated at 2:30 that night and was I prepared at the time? … no!”
What would be the top 3 items you’d grab?
“I would grab shoes, a change of clothes and my purse, because a woman has everything in her purse!”

Greg Jordan
age 40
school counselor
with daughter Tohpia age 4 (turns 5 in March – Happy Birthday Tohpia!)
“It’s definitely showed us the necessity to be prepared. In school, we actually did a presentation discussing preparedness a couple of months before the fires and then lo and behold! Our family did evacuate but were we prepared? … no! I grabbed some legal stuff, the computer and Tohpia grabbed her little treasure box filled with family heirlooms, there’s a locket with her great gramma’s picture in it.” “And my vitamins!”, Tohpia added.

Gayane Sarkissyan
age 41
personal banker
“For me honestly, what it taught us is not to complain about the little things in life, knowing that so many people lost everything. Do I have an evacuation plan? I do not, I should though!
I would grab my purse and my daughter, but my boyfriend’s a big guy so he’s just too much to carry … that’s really it, everything else is replaceable.”

Marc Thompson
age 51
systems administrator
“Most definitely, I think far too many people were unprepared for it. Do we have an evacuation plan? We do! Because of the fires we were under voluntary evacuation and we grabbed the kid, the dogs, a suitcase each and some pictures. You can always go to a bank outside of town and find shelter somewhere else, but without your family, you’re pretty much lost!”

Angie Henry
age 41
“I want to say yes, I’m hoping people will start doing more for themselves and their families as far as emergency preparedness. We had earthquake supply kits in place before the fires and I think that would’ve helped us, now our family does have an evacuation plan and we’ve discussed a meeting place with our kids. The top 3 things I’d grab? … photos, cats and clothes.”

Al Villegas
age 81
retired from Vons with his wife Anita age 76
“I’ve heard so many stories, I heard when the fire broke out there wasn’t enough water on the hill, a plumber friend told me if the neighborhood was old, the city didn’t want to cause any problems by putting in a higher-pressure system, so it really isn’t the city’s fault.”
Do you have an evacuation plan? “No, not really, but we did think about it.”
Anita adds, “we do have a lot of stuff in the garage, like water etc., but in an emergency, how are you going to get in the garage?”
What are the top 3 items you’d grab? They thought together… “our cell phones so we can call our kids, maybe some important papers and each other.”

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