If You Had a Home Fire, What Would You Take Out With You?

Discussion created by fschumpert on Feb 22, 2014
Latest reply on Apr 11, 2014 by profchiara

I ask this question for several reasons:

1.  This week we noticed that our lights in our home were dimming frequently one evening so we called the neighborhood police and fire department and they dispatched two men to our home to investigate. They noticed the same, especially when we engaged a few 220V appliances, such as clothes dryer and electric ovens, and they suggested we NOT stay in the house overnight as there could be an electrical fire without our even knowing about it. I called our local friend-contractor, and he came over and checked several things and summoned a licensed electrician to our home the next morning. My wife decided to spend the night at our son's nearby home, but I chose to stay, "sleeping" (HA) on the family room sofa with flashlight, cell phone, fire extinguisher, etc. close by in case there was a sudden fire in the electrical control panel in adjacent laundry room. I recorded the local fire and police department phone numbers in my cell phone in case I needed to make an immediate call. Needless to say, I was up all night, walking about the house, and outside, checking to see if I smelled smoke, noticed anything suspicious. We have an alarm system with smoke, heat detection and door-entrance alarms, but I was not going to depend entirely on these, as it might be too late. We also have a stand-by 20KW generator out back to supply electrical service to our home,so I wasn't concerned about sudden power loss.

The electrician arrived at 9:00 the next morning and began a series of checks (incoming power in our 200 AMP service, the control panel, electrical connection on the roof, etc.), but found nothing suspicious, so he requested service from the local power board. The technician arrived in late afternoon and performed a number of checks on the roof, incoming meter control on side of house and street-side transformer and discharge wires, only tightening a few connections and replaced a neutral fixture. We haven't had any further light-dimming problems since, so, hopefully, the problem - where ever it originated - has been resolved. We hope!

2. Which brings me to my questions:  If you had a fire, or something else that would require you to evacuate your home suddenly, what would you take with you? (family photos, computer, photography equipment, passport, wallet, essential medicines, household pets, insurance documents, etc.)

Not knowing what might happen during the night, I decided to park my auto in neighbor's driveway in case emergency vehicles needed to access mine. I took some family photo albums, photography equipment, laptop computer and external hard drive, a few books (my favorite Bible), a metal safe box where I keep a few essential documents, and put them in the trunk of my auto at the neighbor's house.

3. I had time to think about this,  and take some precautionary measures,  but what if something catastrophic like this occurred without warning - what would I gather in my house to protect before evacuating the premises?

What plan - if any - do you have for the same?