At 7:23 pm on Sunday evening, I awoke from a dead sleep to an earsplitting noise. I could not identify it at first and spent a few precious moments trying to figure out where it was coming from. Then I realized what it was, at the same time I smelled something burning and saw my neighbors leaving the building with their pets. The building’s fire alarm was going off.
My heart started racing and I immediately grabbed Disney and put her in a carrier, closing the door. The other carrier did not have the door attached (the cats like to hang out in the carrier and the door never stayed open). A few more precious moments were wasted climbing to the back of my closet for the door and reattaching it to the carrier before putting Cheshire inside. At this point, I threw a jacket on and grabbed my keys and phone (thankfully I had worn a tank top and bike shorts to bed- not the most glamorous outfit, but I was clothed) and started out the door, but I couldn’t find my shoes. I had just received a free pair from a vendor at work, so I dumped them out of the box and threw them on before grabbing the carriers and heading down the stairs and out of the building. I didn’t even grab my purse.
Once outside, I joined the rest of my neighbors and their dogs (only one other neighbor had evacuated their cats with them), while the fire department checked the building, disabled the alarm and gave us the ok to re-enter the building. It turns out my immediate downstairs neighbor had fallen asleep with the oven on, which created a lot of smoke (and the burning smell) and triggered the alarm, but there was no actual fire thank goodness.
While everyone is ok and this particular instance was a false alarm, it was a real wake up call for me. I was not prepared to get me and the kitties out of the building quickly and wasted precious time getting the carrier ready. And though I got the most important things out of the apartment (the cats and myself), I would have had no means of getting us anywhere without my purse (which contained all of the identification I just finished replacing).
After the incident, I am putting together an emergency kit to keep by the front door with all of the essentials I’ll need to take with me in the event of an evacuation. And the doors will remain on both carriers! I already keep the carriers in the living room, so this won’t change, in addition to the emergency kit (which I will be setting up in a backpack), I will be keeping a pair of slip on shoes by the front door as well.
The emergency kit will contain:
Important paperwork ( birth certificate, microchip records, etc)
A few cans of cat food, dishes and dry food
A bottle of water
Puppy Pads (since I can’t fit a litter box in the bag)
A couple of toys to make the kitties feel comfortable
A pair of leggings, shirt and underclothes for myself
Any prescription medication as needed
A mini first aid kit
As I will be on foot since I don’t have a car, I will need to keep things fairly light and the backpack will free up my hands to carry both carriers. I will also put my purse and keys with the emergency kit when I arrive home each day and keep my phone with me in whatever room I happen to be in. In a true emergency seconds count, and I don’t want to be caught unprepared again.
Do you have an emergency kit?
What do/would you have in your kit?
Have you ever needed to evacuate in a hurry?