It has been cold here the past few weeks. We have had some days that don't get out of the 20's. Every night we are below freezing and most days it rises up to the high 30's or low 40's. Last week schools were out all week because of 8 inches of snow that fell on President's Day.
I have heard several times on the news that a water main has broken. They close streets to repair these breaks. Sometimes some houses have no water for several hours.
Yesterday our church had a pipe burst in the ceiling of one of the Sunday School classrooms. We heard about it right after it happened on Facebook. Church wasn't cancelled though. They stopped the leak and repaired the pipe and all was well this morning.
This afternoon we heard heavy trucks come down our street and stop at the bottom of the hill. They had taped off a section of the road and my husband walked down to see what was going on. A water main broke. They had turned off the water just up the hill above our house. We had no water.
Then they brought in a big back hoe to tear up the road and find the water main break. While digging up the road they accidentally hit our natural gas line. We went out to pick our kids up from youth group right after they hit the gas line. But at that time we didn't know for sure if they did or not. We had just been speculating. When we returned from picking up the kids we were met with a road block, a fire truck and a police officer. They were evacuating our neighbors. We were not allowed in to get anything from our home, not even our dog. The nice fireman said it would be a couple hours before we could possibly return to our homes and at that time they would be able to tell us more and we might be able to get our dog then. We may be evacuated for the night while they fixed the problem.
We went out to dinner (since we couldn't cook at home) and stayed out for a couple hours. By the time we got home the fire engines were gone, the police were gone, but the repair people were still here. They told us it was okay for all of us to return to our homes but we had no water or gas at this point. They also said that when the gas got turned back on they would go door to door and relight pilot lights, etc. If no one was home they had locksmiths ready on call to come pick the locks and they would just go in and turn the pilot lights back on and leave. We considered spending the night away but we realized we still had the dog to tend to. We could leave her home alone but if they came in to our house there may be an issue. She has never bitten anyone before but we also haven't had a stranger come in our house without us here. So we decided to stay home.
After an hour or so they turned on our gas again as we weren't on the same line as the busted gas line. They helped us light our pilot lights again and we have heat and can cook again. No water yet.
This got me thinking. When we returned home from picking up our kids and were met with an evacuation notice, we had no clothes, no toiletries, no nothing with us. Most of us didn't have winter coats either as it had been a rather warm (considering) day. What if they hadn't let us back in the house after we returned from our dinner out? What if we had to evacuate from our home? What would we grab?
In our car I have our winter car bag. It contained extra gloves, scarves and hats, blankets and a few bottles of water. We have our first aid kit but that wouldn't really help us today. What do I need for an emergency evacuation? What do I need in the car if we drive up to an evacuated block again?
Here is my thoughts, off the top of my head tonight:
In the house: A back pack to grab and go if we have no time. It will include a pair of underwear for each child, a stick of deodorant, a small tube of toothpaste, toothbrushes for each of us, a small bag of sanitary napkins and other feminine products we use, a puzzle book or deck of cards to keep us busy, and an extra charger cord for an iphone and one for an android phone. Also copies of our important papers until we can get a safe deposit box.
In the car: A backpack with similar stuff in it except our important documents. (I don't want them in the car all the time)
This list of things will become longer the more I think about it, but this will give me a start.
In our old house I did have a backpack filled with these things. I had it in our closet ready to grab in a moment's notice. I never had to pick up that bag. When we moved into our trailer I had that bag in our car for a long time, until we needed extra space. The backpack got tossed into the trailer, then unpacked and used for something else for a while. At that point all the clothing items in it were way too small for the kids anyway. Since we moved into this new house I haven't repacked this backpack. It is now time. Unfortunately, I had this little emergency to remind me that we needed this.
PS: because our water hasn't been turned back on, I asked the kids to go ahead and pack an overnight bag anyway just in case we need to bug out of here some time tonight. They haven't found the water main break yet and they are still digging. You never know if they will hit another gas line or need to evacuate us again.
On a good note: We do have plenty of water. They turned the water back on for a few minutes and we filled both bathtubs with water so we can flush toilets now when they turn it back off again. The water looks dirty and filled with granules of black. We will not be drinking it for a while. We will use bottled water for cooking, drinking, and brushing teeth.
I have rambled enough.....