The House is on Fire – What do I Grab?


The daily post challenge – The house is on fire – all the people and animals are safe – I have a chance to grab five items before I run for it – what would I grab?

First and foremost, my laptop – a no-brainer. I never adequately back-up my work – not even to devices in this house, which wouldn’t help in the event of a fire. I know lots of people who consistently save their work up to internet platforms (i.e. send it to yourself at g-mail and things like that.) I do not take this wise advice – so, I need to grab that laptop!

My two passport drives (but I’m going to count this as one choice.) They’re close to the laptop and if I get them, I’ll have all my documents and all the photos.

My Nike of Samothrace statue – it’s also in the writing area (handy all this stuff is right in the kitchen and close to a door.) She’s only about a foot tall so I can tuck her under my arm.

My wallet (which is in my purse, so I might as well take the whole thing and then at least I’ll have the car keys if I need to drive away in a rush.)  It would be good to have my ID since I’m in the process of losing my home and everything in it. Maybe I should have thought of this item before a small statue or a couple of passport drives.

I suppose it would also be good to grab our actual passports – you know those things that let Canadians get across the border to the USA or for the more adventuresome, travel the world.

Well – that’s five things (with a bit of cheating on the two passport drives and a whole purse full of mostly useless items.) I’m now thinking it would have been good to take one of the walkie-talkies – I could have called out for some help. (For people who live in less isolated spots, this would translate to their cell phone. There is no point in grabbing the cell phone here since there isn’t any service for miles.)

I’ll miss some of the little bits of inexpensive jewellery I’ve collected over time. And all the books, it will be hard to lose all the books. I hope I’m wearing a few layers of clothes, because I didn’t think of grabbing any extras.  I didn’t look for a single thing that Bruce might have wanted. In the event of a fire – is one allowed to be selfish?

In my life I have had a connection with two building fires. One was at a place where I worked and I was required to assist the insurance people in determining what had been lost, what could be salvaged, and what would need to be replaced. It was a huge job and I often felt overwhelmed with the volume of things that were stuffed into a small space. At that time, I mourned the loss of some of the personal objects I had kept in my office.

The second fire burnt our generator shed to the ground. I wasn’t here for this fire and I’m glad. (Remember my post on freezing in crisis situations – I suspect I would have been more trouble than help.) The generator shed sat in close proximity to one edge of the cabin and Bruce had a terrifying time ensuring the whole place didn’t go up in flames. That event happened over three years ago, but there are times that he still bemoans the loss of  something from that shed – a tool, a nut, a bolt, or a plumbing part – the type of things the building was stuffed with. For my part, I miss the beautiful, blue hydrangea that grew right by the door and bloomed in wild disarray every summer. And I miss the actual building – it was such a cute little thing.

garden 3

Contemplating a house fire is scary – especially for those who have been through such a trauma. It can be a good exercise, though. Anything that makes us examine our priorities is good.


12 comments on “The House is on Fire – What do I Grab?

  1. Having lived through two house fires where everthing was lost, I’ve come to know that there’s not much that can’t be replaced (especially in this information age.). It is interesting to see what others think is so valuable. Enjoyed your list!

    • I remember that when I was a little kid, my grandparents had a fire. Over the years, I often heard my grandmother talk about the fire and more importantly the things that were lost. Probably the information age does change our ideas about loss – i.e. all one’s photos being on a single device that can be held in one hand. I admire your resiliency.

  2. God, this is scary. For me, it’s not a fire so much as the dreaded earthquake of an 8 or above level that everyone says is coming SOON around the Portland area. So I think about things like food, first aid, my dogs’ safety (Just got the little one micro chipped as a result of such ruminations!) how to shut off things like gas and water, and so on. A nightmare I hope never happens. But fire? What to grab? I haven’t thought of that. Now I will. Thank you.

    • It’s hard with something like an earthquake that is always coming – if not tomorrow then maybe within the next eighty plus years. That is hard to wrap the mind around.
      I think the ambiguity makes people complacent. I admire your ability to give the situation rational thought! Thanks for stopping by the blog and writing a comment.

  3. oldmainer says:

    I can’t imagine living through one, much less two. But now you have got me thinking. What would I save. Currently, I’ve narrowed the list down to 82 things. I think I am going to be here awhile:>)

  4. gemmahawdon says:

    I love that photo! What a beautiful place. I tend to panic so I think I’d grab the laptop and flee, but I’d definitely grab the laptop! Incidentally, are you getting my posts? Since swapping to self hosted I’m having tech problems 😦

  5. itlnbrt says:

    I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

    • Thanks – I checked out your blog and am interested in the format and the way you are serving authors. I’d love to connect about having you review Disappearing in Plain Sight. Hope we can be in touch.

      • itlnbrt says:

        Oh, thanks so much.
        Well, currently I’m a bit behind on reviews and would rather not commit myself anymore until I catch up. I am currently writing a novel myself to be published this year.
        However, I’d be more than happy to post Blog Tour posts or cover reveals or blurbs from books. Anything I can just post that the author has put together.

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