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more longer True Stories....

Jack and Steve

Our recent personal experience in a forest fire evacuation situation we'd like to share with you gentlemen.

We have cell phones w/AT&T as provider
We have a pad w/Verizon as a provider
We have a computer w/ a local internet provider.
We recently got a tv w/antenna
We live in an area that is mountainous, therefore reception can sometimes be a challenge depending on location in the general area, but not at the house. We have listened to you and Steven Harris and have loaded apps to our phones & pad for emergencies.

We were advised Monday evening our home area was subject to a voluntary evacuation. We started packing & clearing the property including moving things like the wooden outdoor furniture into the house or moving things very very far away like the propane BBQ, etc. We attempted to remain connected via the "computer-age" technology . For a while we had reception on all devices. The computer, local internet, was first to waiver. Then a few hours later the wireless connection to the local internet provider stopped. By this time the wind had shifted clearing the smoke from the air, but this made no difference. Btw the local internet is provided from the opposite direction of the encroaching fire.
Then the connection to AT&T and Verizon started to sputter. Would come in and out. TV reception continued, but news once every couple of hours, if they covered the story that hour, was ineffective.
The good news is we have the uniden scanner. (THANK YOU Steven Harris!!!) so we had up to the minute information.

Thought you should know that we use the apps for listening to the fire, police and emergency providers in non-threatening situations. So we know they work. But thought you should know that we just had experience with the "one is none" concept. We were surprised/disappointed by the failures in the "technology" provided services which are needed for using the apps. But the uniden scanner performed fabulously. Thank you for the suggestion. We also communicated via our walkie talkies to communicate between the vehicles on the way out from the area. It was surprising how quickly the systems deteriorated .

Not sure why we experienced the technology failures but thought you should know our recent experience.

But even with the scanner, it took a visit from a human to get important information. We got a visit from a local Sherrifs officer advising the fire had crossed one of the larger roads in our area and that our area was now under mandatory evacuation. At the time there was clear air and no sign of the fire on any horizon, just smoke.

We evacuated, another experience not exactly as expected. Discovering that a place to drive your possessions to that is safe or a place to move your livestock or even your pets is a challenge. You can take some things into a shelter, but not everything. Or schlep everything into a hotel room though that has its own restrictions. Btw, we do have a fireproof safe, but this is a really hot and rapidly moving fire , we chose to move the important things to the car and store less important things in the newly emptied safe! And we are lucky as there are 2 of us and we have an open truck and enclosed off road vehicle that we could stuff full. Even so we could not get everything in either vehicle, hence leaving stuff in the safe. But there were still other things that we just could not move.

Example of things we observed included neighbors left extra vehicles near the fire department (seems like a safer area) & horse owners sharing trailer space with neighbors. And Keys. Most women I spoke w/ had key issues. Either misplacing them before the evacuation or even after arriving at the shelter. It was agreed a good lanyard system would have been helpful.

We had our bug out bags available and were first things in the car. These are good for 3 days but we were evacuated for 10!

We have had access to our aps & phones after the last earthquake. Logic says the smoke should not affect internet, nor cell phone service, but this was our experience.

We are not out of the woods yet, as the fire grew 6 times larger than Monday. Google earth has a live hot spot tool that has become helpful as we bugged out to a different county for a while so TV news and scanner no longer choices for connecting! And the apps work again!

We bugged out to our boat but felt we were too far from home so we altered our bug out location to our bug out trailer and moved closer to home. We set up at the Red Cross shelter and did not have to take precious resources from other evacuees because of your good guidance.

We have returned home with the fire crews holding the fire about 1 mile from our home! They hope to have the fire out before the end of October.

Thanks for all you do.
Craig and Lori. 





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Thanks - Steve