I live in a rural area. I have three close neighbors, all of whom I am close to. They happened to be gone when the fire hit. So I'm thinking "Okay, parents are gone. Kids are with teenage sitters. Crap, I'm the only adult." And then I'm thinking, "What do I need to save if this turns ugly?" So I wander through my house and gather up everything I had that was important to me. What did I grab? My computer. My external hard drive. It has all of my eight thousand plus pictures, all of my friend's pictures, and all of my writing files. Definitely grabbing that. I grabbed my CD cases because they also hold pictures, though they are the same ones that are on my hard drive. And since I was grabbing my pictures I figured I may as well grab my movies. I would have been fine to lose them but I had time so why not? All of my movies are organized in CD cases so they were super easy to grab. I also got all of our important documents such as birth certificates and passports. Then I wandered through and grabbed what I thought I would like to have, just in case. So I got odds and ends, some jewelry, some material, some books, etc and some clothes. I was going to get more clothes if the fire decided to take a turn from the worst, but that was the last thing I was going to do because I didn't want a nasty mess on my hands if nothing happened.
I also texted my neighbors (all except one, who I completely spaced because her kids weren't home) and asked them what they'd like me to save in the event of a problem. So, I pawed through their things and found hard drives, picture CD's, SD cards, a journal, and important documents. I was going to save it all.
Lucky for me, the fire didn't get out of hand. I saw the emergency vehicles driving up to it, spraying their water on it. I saw an airplane flying around, which apparently was dropping water. One of the mom's of the kids that were left home couldn't get in - they'd set up a road block and wouldn't let her through - so she was keeping me informed on what was going on on that front. For the record, I thought that was completely assinine. Two of the adults were coming home to their kids but the police wouldn't let them through, even though the kids had been left with sitters. I couldn't believe it. What if the fire had suddenly gone bad? Ridiculous. But that's another story.
So, what did I learn from this experience? To have anything important to you in a place that's easy to find and easy to grab because sometimes you're not the one saving your stuff. My neighbors had everything in an accessible place. With a little direction, I found it. I was pretty impressed, actually. But it would have been better for them if they could have said "Hey, everything we need to make sure gets out is right here in this once place." A safe or something. Because if the fire had gone bad, I wouldn't have been running around trying to find everything. I would have split and left their stuff behind. And, if the roles had been reversed, they would have been running around trying to find my stuff because it isn't all in one place. So, to protect those things that are important to you, I suggest a safe or, at the very least, a specific location so they're easy to find and easy to grab. You never know when you'll need that organization.
Here's the fire. It doesn't look very close or very big, but it was close enough and big enough to have me a little nervous.