If you and yours are anything like me and mine, perhaps you found yourself a bit unprepared as the Thomas Fire raged toward town. Fortunately, the whole of Santa Barbara could see it coming, affording us ample time to evacuate. For me and mine, that meant stuffing suitcases and duffel bags with clothes, loading doubled-up grocery bags with food and water, and gathering other essentials, namely pets, documents, hard drives, keys, and cash. We tossed it all in the trunk and peeled out before sundown — so as to not evacuate in the dark — and luckily found a safe home base for the following 10 days in an empty downtown cottage offered up by a friend.
We had made our emergency evacuation plan on the fly, which according to respected experts and everyday folk with sensible capacities for common sense, makes no sense at all. Hence my family’s New Year’s resolution: Get ready for the next inevitable emergency. That means it’s time to compile an emergency checklist and assemble appropriate go-bags. Prime examples of both can be found at VLES Designs (vlesdesigns.com), founded by Karina and Stuart Warshaw, both former volunteer firefighters. “We designed … the bag we would want to have in an emergency situation,” said Stuart, adding that VLES stands for Very Logical Emergency Supplies. “The bag itself is strong and smart, [and] the contents … are logical and useful.”
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