How to be ready in case disaster strikes

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Colorado wildfires have reduced hundreds of homes to ashes this year. 

Most evacuated families just had a few minutes to get out and with such a little time, it's important to prepare now before you get the text or email to evacuate.

"The best way to start is creating kits with every individual family member," said Troy Staples, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross has bags available that you can buy online for $50 and include many items from a first aid kit, packets of drinking water, a flash light and food for three days.

"Each bar is a little tiny brick. You can open it up and eat one little brick at a time. It's like one of those power bars that you get," said Staples.

You'll also want to pack clothes in your bag as well as any personal items like medications or games for your kids.  
 
"You need to personalize your kits because you might need medications, your children might need games to play so they aren't becoming a nuisance if you are stuck in the car for awhile," Staples said. 

And don't forget to pack for your pets. Make sure you have dog food and plenty of water.

Once your bag is packed it's important to map out safe locations where your family all knows to meet if there is a natural disaster. 

"Depending on what part of town the fire could be in… we have a meeting point up north, south, east and west of town," said Staples

So what about those important documents and all those valuables in your home? Insurance adjusters suggest documenting everything using a camera and a flash drive.

"You really need to be thinking of a home inventory and really what that is. Is going from room to room in your house and detailing everything out. What are those major appliances what kind of art work do I have," said Carole Walker, spokesperson for the insurance industry.

Walker suggests storing those photos on several different flash drives and putting those drives in different locations just in case you can't get into your home to get it. Having this type of documentation means you won't have to fill out so much paperwork and you may get more money from your insurance company.

 "Those kind of documents and those kind of home inventories are really going to make the difference of you being able to repair and rebuild your life," Walker said.

Ready Colorado (readycolorado.com) has more information on emergency kits and how to store your important documents, plus a link to the American Red Cross.