What would you do in an emergency?

This one’s way off-topic, but I figured it would be worth sharing.

Like a lot of people, I listen to the radio at work.  I mostly listen for the music, and tune out the traffic and weather reports and stuff like that.  But yesterday one of these reports caught my attention: there was “a major structure fire” going on at a local apartment complex.  Why did I notice?  Because it’s the one I live in!

First thing I thought of was, of course, what if I’ve lost everything? Well, that’s pretty simple.  Only thing I absolutely cannot replace is my laptop, (I’ve got backups, but they’re in the apartment!), and it’s here at work with me.  The rest of my stuff is just stuff, and I’ve got enough in the bank to see me through a minor emergency like this.  Next, how bad is it? I called the radio station for more information.  They said they only knew that one of the buildings–not sure which one, sorry–was on fire, and it looked like it was only the top floor.  I live on the bottom floor, so that’s a bit of relief.

I tried calling the fire department, but the office was closed by then.  So I called a couple people from church–we have a system where everyone has someone they can call in case of an emergency–to let them know I might need some serious help in the immediate future.  Then I called my mom, so she wouldn’t worry about me when she heard it on the news, and because I knew she’d be home at the time, unlike most people I could call, who were still at work or on their way home from work.  I had her check on the news, and she said it looked like it was a different building on fire, not mine.  She offered to help in any way she could, of course, but she lives a few towns away–almost an hour in rush hour traffic–and wouldn’t really be able to help out quickly, so I said I’d be fine.

By this time I was on my way home.  (It was almost time to leave anyway when the report came on the radio.)  When I got there, the police had the whole area cordoned off, a radius of about two blocks around the apartments.  There were police, firemen, EMTs, the electric company, you name it, officials and official vehicles swarming all over the place.  I asked one of the firemen if it was safe to go into the other building, where my apartment is, and he said no, there’s too much smoke, just stay outside.  So I called one of the guys from church back and explained the situation, and ended up staying the night at his place.  (Good thing he has a guest bedroom.)

The news is reporting that no one was injured or killed, and in the end it turned out to not be more than an inconvenience for me.  It could have been a lot worse, but it wasn’t, partly because of luck (I’m not staying in the building that caught on fire) and partly because I already knew beforehand what to do in case of a sudden emergency.

What about you?  If a house in your neighborhood, or even your own place, caught fire, do you know, right now, what you would do?  Do you have emergency plans prepared?  Does everyone in the family know what they are, for those who have families?  For that matter, do the other members of your family have cellphones so you can immediately get in touch with them if needed?  Do you have friends who can quickly help out in a pinch?  (Are you such a friend for someone else?)  Do you have any money saved up in case something happens?  (Even if you have insurance, you’ll still have immediate and short-term needs to take care of, and claims can take quite a while to process or even be denied, depending on circumstances.)

If not, you probably should, just in case.  I never expected this to happen.  Right up until I heard about the fire on the radio, yesterday was just another Monday like any other.  I’m just glad I was ready for it.  Though maybe I should look into online backups, just in case…


  1. Deksden says:

    Here In Russia we have emergency situation with fire in several areas of country! Whole small villages go into fire. Large disaster. And this theme sounds relevant. Everybody needs an emergency plan and backups. And some savings in bank. And more..

  2. Anthony Frazier says:

    “The rest of my stuff is just stuff, and I’ve got enough in the bank to see me through a minor emergency like this.”

    Renter’s Insurance — go buy some. 🙂 I’m not sure where you’re at, but in most places in the US it’s really inexpensive (a few bucks a month). Even if you have savings to replace all your stuff, it’s nice to not /have/ to spend that money.

  3. Jim mckeeth says:

    Glad it worked out for you, although you do raise some good potions. I’ve been meaning to setup some online backup, so this is a good reminder to do so.