|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
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.