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Thread: Wildfire PSA

  1. #1
    ASCTLC's Avatar
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    Wildfire PSA

    So many fires springing up around Colo Spgs so let me provide an unrequested PSA for y'all from the misfortune of Tammy's and my experience.

    First, there is no neighborhood safe from these sudden, urgent and mandatory "evacuation orders". Whether your home gets destroyed or not you want to make sure you grab very essential items before you drive away. You may think you'll just grab this and grab that but if you don't have a list made before you're panicked...and you will feel a sense of panic when they call or come to your door. Since you don't know if you have 5 minutes or 20, you better spend time now before you're faced with an order making a list of those items or you'll scramble grabbing some of the most worthless replaceable shit and leave behind truly irreplaceable stuff.

    When you throw everything on your list but before you actually organize it in order of priority - remember you don't know if an order will give you 2 minutes? 5 minutes? 20 minutes? - so get your list first then spend time ordering it in priorities so you grab in order of the list not by what you're walking/running past in the house! Trust me, grabbing item 10 is shit compared to the necessary time to focus on and grab item 1, 2, 3...

    Part of what you can leave behind (gulp) is guns. You think those are valuable/irreplaceable? Unless it's some special heirloom or Smithsonian level history, those are easily and unarguably replaced by insurance (I know!). But true antiques are worthless to insurance, those are "scheduled" as "end of life" so you won't get compensation for them (as I repeat myself - I know from experience).

    So what kind of stuff should you consider? Let me give a slight insight into some of the things on our list:

    Files from our file cabinet. It's got high dollar item receipts, tax critical papers, certain vehicle information, etc...especially if you aren't smart enough to have that kind of stuff in a safe deposit box off site.
    PC and Laptop....screw the monitor and such, just grab the CPU. It also has files and irreplaceable stuff on it...stuff you'll regret like hell you left to fire or looters (if no fire but extended evac).
    Family photos and framed marriage license. We have only gotten a handful of stuff from family and friends since the fire so ours are erased from history forever.
    Family Recipe book. You may not cook but Tammy and I lost most all of our years earned book of recipes we've developed. No biggie to many/most of you but if cooking/eating is that important in your life insurance and friends can't replace such a thing. We still haven't been able to recreate so many recipes we always loved.
    Address book (if you have one). No one else in the world has that same combination of friends/family so like the family cookbook, it's irreplaceable.
    Art. Not walmart and typical crap from stores around town, I'm talking you one of a kind stuff originals. You may not have but Tammy and I lean to quality stuff and not reproduction type stuff. Each to their own.
    I have 1 gun on my list taht actually matters - my elk rifle. I got lucky to get another absolutely scary accurate Remington 700 after the last fire. An affordable factory rifle that accurate is as scarce as hen's teeth I do not wish to try to replace - again. If I can grab it I will but never before anything above!
    Cash. Insurance only replaces an amount that is not much more than pocket change ($150?). If you have an emergency cash stash more than you're willing to forget about, put it on your list (well down from stuff above!).
    Ammo and reloading supplies (not tools). I can get a press anytime but powders, primers, bullets...good luck finding that stuff unless a couple pounds of powder or a single brick of primers is all you got. But it's still way last on our list of "important".

    And on each item, make a note of where those things are in the house - you may not be the one running to collect it - it may be a friend or family that isn't evacuated but can get there before you do who can grab those most important things you need saved.

    You all have your own unique priorities and needs so make your list and to keep it realistic keep asking yourself if it can actually be replaced, you may only have 3 minutes as LE stands at your door yelling at you to "GET THE **** OUT OF THE HOUSE NOW!!!".

    That's pretty much it for us. Small, manageable and stuff we know insurance can't/won't do shit to make whole. Some stuff like marriage licenses and vehicle titles are replaceable but it sucks ass trying to go through all the hoops and steps to do it. And after a devastating fire you won't have time, insurance starts a clock and you complete your claim before it expires or you're shit out of luck with anything you haven't made claim on yet...you're already gonna loose out on more shit than your mind can imagine as it is so don't sit down for a cry and run the clock out on yourself...and trust me, the insurance companies are all too happy for you to do that to yourself.

    Stuff we left off and not concerned about? ATV w/ snow plow - meh easily replaced. Stereo - again, easily replaced, tools, music, clothes, hunting gear, office equipment (other than PCs), furniture, etc... all replaceable unless a true antique item.

    Oh, and one last thing...fook your "new" car, take the one you don't have full coverage on. Insurance will replace the fully covered but tell you tough shit on the other destroyed in your garage. Argue all you want about it being "in the house" but it's still not covered under your home owners policy, it's an automobile policy regardless where it's parked.

    That's all I can think of at the moment but with so many fires springing up all of a sudden that's more than you might think.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by ASCTLC View Post
    So many fires springing up around Colo Spgs so let me provide an unrequested PSA for y'all from the misfortune of Tammy's and my experience.

    First, there is no neighborhood safe from these sudden, urgent and mandatory "evacuation orders". Whether your home gets destroyed or not you want to make sure you grab very essential items before you drive away. You may think you'll just grab this and grab that but if you don't have a list made before you're panicked...and you will feel a sense of panic when they call or come to your door. Since you don't know if you have 5 minutes or 20, you better spend time now before you're faced with an order making a list of those items or you'll scramble grabbing some of the most worthless replaceable shit and leave behind truly irreplaceable stuff.

    When you throw everything on your list but before you actually organize it in order of priority - remember you don't know if an order will give you 2 minutes? 5 minutes? 20 minutes? - so get your list first then spend time ordering it in priorities so you grab in order of the list not by what you're walking/running past in the house! Trust me, grabbing item 10 is shit compared to the necessary time to focus on and grab item 1, 2, 3...

    Part of what you can leave behind (gulp) is guns. You think those are valuable/irreplaceable? Unless it's some special heirloom or Smithsonian level history, those are easily and unarguably replaced by insurance (I know!). But true antiques are worthless to insurance, those are "scheduled" as "end of life" so you won't get compensation for them (as I repeat myself - I know from experience).

    So what kind of stuff should you consider? Let me give a slight insight into some of the things on our list:

    Files from our file cabinet. It's got high dollar item receipts, tax critical papers, certain vehicle information, etc...especially if you aren't smart enough to have that kind of stuff in a safe deposit box off site.
    PC and Laptop....screw the monitor and such, just grab the CPU. It also has files and irreplaceable stuff on it...stuff you'll regret like hell you left to fire or looters (if no fire but extended evac).
    Family photos and framed marriage license. We have only gotten a handful of stuff from family and friends since the fire so ours are erased from history forever.
    Family Recipe book. You may not cook but Tammy and I lost most all of our years earned book of recipes we've developed. No biggie to many/most of you but if cooking/eating is that important in your life insurance and friends can't replace such a thing. We still haven't been able to recreate so many recipes we always loved.
    Address book (if you have one). No one else in the world has that same combination of friends/family so like the family cookbook, it's irreplaceable.
    Art. Not walmart and typical crap from stores around town, I'm talking you one of a kind stuff originals. You may not have but Tammy and I lean to quality stuff and not reproduction type stuff. Each to their own.
    I have 1 gun on my list taht actually matters - my elk rifle. I got lucky to get another absolutely scary accurate Remington 700 after the last fire. An affordable factory rifle that accurate is as scarce as hen's teeth I do not wish to try to replace - again. If I can grab it I will but never before anything above!
    Cash. Insurance only replaces an amount that is not much more than pocket change ($150?). If you have an emergency cash stash more than you're willing to forget about, put it on your list (well down from stuff above!).
    Ammo and reloading supplies (not tools). I can get a press anytime but powders, primers, bullets...good luck finding that stuff unless a couple pounds of powder or a single brick of primers is all you got. But it's still way last on our list of "important".

    And on each item, make a note of where those things are in the house - you may not be the one running to collect it - it may be a friend or family that isn't evacuated but can get there before you do who can grab those most important things you need saved.

    You all have your own unique priorities and needs so make your list and to keep it realistic keep asking yourself if it can actually be replaced, you may only have 3 minutes as LE stands at your door yelling at you to "GET THE **** OUT OF THE HOUSE NOW!!!".

    That's pretty much it for us. Small, manageable and stuff we know insurance can't/won't do shit to make whole. Some stuff like marriage licenses and vehicle titles are replaceable but it sucks ass trying to go through all the hoops and steps to do it. And after a devastating fire you won't have time, insurance starts a clock and you complete your claim before it expires or you're shit out of luck with anything you haven't made claim on yet...you're already gonna loose out on more shit than your mind can imagine as it is so don't sit down for a cry and run the clock out on yourself...and trust me, the insurance companies are all too happy for you to do that to yourself.

    Stuff we left off and not concerned about? ATV w/ snow plow - meh easily replaced. Stereo - again, easily replaced, tools, music, clothes, hunting gear, office equipment (other than PCs), furniture, etc... all replaceable unless a true antique item.

    Oh, and one last thing...fook your "new" car, take the one you don't have full coverage on. Insurance will replace the fully covered but tell you tough shit on the other destroyed in your garage. Argue all you want about it being "in the house" but it's still not covered under your home owners policy, it's an automobile policy regardless where it's parked.

    That's all I can think of at the moment but with so many fires springing up all of a sudden that's more than you might think.
    Such a needed PSA.

    I remember Shaun talking about all that.

    Sent from my SM-N986U using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Willie G's Avatar
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    Thanks, Andy!

    We've been lucky, so far. But we can always be better prepared.
    Courage is knowing it might hurt, and doing it anyway.
    Stupidity is the same.
    And thatís why life is hard.

  4. #4
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    Andy, did they ever indicate how long the fire actually burned through your part of the woods? I am working with a MFG on some fireproofing options for residential and commercial structures and the question came up if a 2 hour rated system would be enough or if it would need to be longer? Just a random curiosity thought trying to help prevent this for other people
    hookers and blow!

  5. #5
    ASCTLC's Avatar
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    No idea how long but when a forestry guy stopped by one day he showed where the fire was so hot it sterilized the ground in places. Hell, they still won't tell us who started the fire.

    But I do recall two things highly recommended for our rebuild was that the bottom of the stucco (where it meets the foundation) be sealed to prevent embers from blowing up from beneath and to install spark proof attic vents to keep embers from blowing in.

    Also, for others who might be misinterpreting from my post title, this isn't just about those living at the WUI (Wilderness Urban Interface), we had 2 fires in town yesterday that caused mandatory evacuations. One was in a trailer park in town and another was in a green belt in the middle of a neighborhood. No one is immune from the dangers of fires in these single digit humidities and blow torch winds.

  6. #6
    Real Estate Flippa Rex Ashton's Avatar
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    We were on "Evacuation Alert" during the Hayman fire when we lived in Larkspur.

    We gathered all important documents and family photos, a quick overnight bag, and some minimal pet supplies (we had 2 dogs; no kids at the time) and had the computers ready to go. Being at the "alert" status, we put everything right by the front door. We could've grabbed the dogs, these other items, and been gone in about 5 minutes.

    Granted, we had the advantage of knowing about the current fire that was burning and spreading. Too often, folks do not have that advantage and are not prepared.

    Neighbors were making defensible spaces around their homes by clearing the landscape of trees, scrub oak, etc near the house. I told them I might block our driveway if the evacuation occurred so firefighter efforts could be focused on their homes that they wanted saved. If the fire had gotten to the property, I was good with it taking the house given our insurance protection and I had no desire to return to a charcoal wasteland. I know that sounds harsh, but others had a strong desire to save their homes.

  7. #7
    1BGDOG's Avatar
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    It's wild what we (folks in general) grab when mandatory evacuation occurred for us a couple months ago here in Boulder.
    Beside many of the things you mentioned, my wife grabbed a lot of her clothes.
    The reason being? She didn't want to go shopping on top (if) we lost the house...
    I realized that all my "junk" AKA collectibles weren't important.
    I realized I need to add riders for my guns, whiskey and wine collection.
    I have some whiskies that "sell" for $6000 a bottle...

    Also if you use Google Drive USE IT to store key info!!
    ****ing coward.
    Sweater
    Never play chess with a pigeon. The pigeon just knocks all the pieces over. Then craps all over the board. Then struts around like it won.

  8. #8
    creepycrawler's Avatar
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    I have some whiskies that "sell" for $6000 a bottle...

    Woo hoo! Let me brag on a thread that is supposed to be helpful to others.

    I'm done here because I need to go dust my Bugatti.
    From the only state in the USA where O'dumbass failed to carry a single county. :hail:

  9. #9
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    Andy, how much faith would you put in a fire safe? I don't mean the shitty Sentry safe from Wally World, I mean an honest to goodness stand up fire safe. I see all the promotional photos of houses burned to the foundations and the safe still standing, but do the contents really survive?
    " A mans rights rest in three boxes; the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box" Fredrick Douglass
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  10. #10
    ASCTLC's Avatar
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    Can't remember who it was FD, claims agent, experience clean up crew who came to help get the trees away so we could safely start recovery, or who but we were told right after the fire that no affordable or even very expensive fire safe would have done us any good due to the temps our place experienced with everything falling down into a pile in the foundation. I recall they said the temps down in the pit exceeded 2500* for well over a day and likely 2 days.

    They explained that the very good quality but still expensive safes can work if you have a fire department coming and hosing down the house to stop the fire before it totally consumes the house and this is what the vast majority of people go through. A wildfire is obviously a whole different animal because the effort is to stop the fire is about the spread and not directly on a home itself.

    They said the way to make a good fire safe actually work was to have it leaning against an outside wall so that when the house falls the safe falls outside the foundation and not down into it where the temps skyrocket for a day or more. Not sure how well that'd work but I can see it. I had my elk rifle standing against my office wall, stock up, in the house and it fell partially outside the foundation when the house fell. The half of the barrel that hung over the pit warped down towards the extreme heat generated by all the stuff burning down in the pit so I think the "leaning safe" idea could work.

  11. #11
    ASCTLC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by creepycrawler View Post
    I have some whiskies that "sell" for $6000 a bottle...

    Woo hoo! Let me brag on a thread that is supposed to be helpful to others.

    I'm done here because I need to go dust my Bugatti.
    $6000 whiskey is just what insurance is going to tell you to pound sand on...rider or no rider. I wouldn't grab it over 'priceless to me' stuff like our address book, family photos, recipe binder but if that stuff is already loaded into my vehicle and I have 2 more minutes you better bet your ass I'd grab that!

    While hind sight tells me I still wouldn't have grabbed my upper end model Specialized Stump Jumper insurance threw me $100 for it and said they wouldn't consider more until I proved the title for it. Yeah, they insisted to be worth that much money it must have required a title like and automobile/camper/boat. High end optics were $0 because at 12 years old it was ready to be thrown away anyway...optics that are good for 50+ years are throw aways at 10 to them.

    People that like really high end quality stuff always get screwed by insurance thanks in large part to all the assholes who scam insurance during their claims.

    People think they have enough insurance...I'm here to tell you that you only want to believe you have enough. Even an insurance agent (simply a sales person no matter how much they think they're your friend) wouldn't know what a true level is for someone who loses it all. We had a policy that uncommonly covered personal contents at 3/4 of the structure level (as an example only: $400,000 structure would be $300,000 personal contents) and still lost half of our stuff! Many got such a rude awakening that day, when they didn't have as much personal contents coverage (typically 1/2 structure level) as we did and even worse when they agreed to accept 1/2 that policy amount up front instead of filling a detailed claim.

    The point is: if you haven't been through this you have no comprehension of what you'll get claimed and what all you'll run the clock out on yourself trying to get claimed. We got an education we sure as hell didn't want so we're generous to help anyone else get some kind of idea before they need it.

    On a burglary or small non-total home fire, don't sweat it, but on a wildfire it's an unimaginable whole new world that'll hand your ass to you by those you know and show you a humanity by those you don't or barely know.

  12. #12
    I still hate that this happened to you, but I appreciate your advice and I hope lots of folks take heed. Good on you for sharing your experience!
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  13. #13
    1BGDOG's Avatar
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    All good info.
    One of my wife's former co-workers lost their house in the Marshall Fire. She has been sharing info like this with her friends.
    They are slowly getting just "stuff" folks take for granted... like a couch. They ordered it 3 months ago and finally are getting it. They text me often and ask to borrow my Super Dut and of course I oblige.

    One thing my insurance company (USAA) had me do last fall was down load their app and take pictures of every room in the house. TO make sure our coverage was "inline" with replacement value... but man the markets are so crazy in CO!


    Quote Originally Posted by ASCTLC View Post
    $6000 whiskey is just what insurance is going to tell you to pound sand on...rider or no rider. I wouldn't grab it over 'priceless to me' stuff like our address book, family photos, recipe binder but if that stuff is already loaded into my vehicle and I have 2 more minutes you better bet your ass I'd grab that!

    While hind sight tells me I still wouldn't have grabbed my upper end model Specialized Stump Jumper insurance threw me $100 for it and said they wouldn't consider more until I proved the title for it. Yeah, they insisted to be worth that much money it must have required a title like and automobile/camper/boat. High end optics were $0 because at 12 years old it was ready to be thrown away anyway...optics that are good for 50+ years are throw aways at 10 to them.

    People that like really high end quality stuff always get screwed by insurance thanks in large part to all the assholes who scam insurance during their claims.

    People think they have enough insurance...I'm here to tell you that you only want to believe you have enough. Even an insurance agent (simply a sales person no matter how much they think they're your friend) wouldn't know what a true level is for someone who loses it all. We had a policy that uncommonly covered personal contents at 3/4 of the structure level (as an example only: $400,000 structure would be $300,000 personal contents) and still lost half of our stuff! Many got such a rude awakening that day, when they didn't have as much personal contents coverage (typically 1/2 structure level) as we did and even worse when they agreed to accept 1/2 that policy amount up front instead of filling a detailed claim.

    The point is: if you haven't been through this you have no comprehension of what you'll get claimed and what all you'll run the clock out on yourself trying to get claimed. We got an education we sure as hell didn't want so we're generous to help anyone else get some kind of idea before they need it.

    On a burglary or small non-total home fire, don't sweat it, but on a wildfire it's an unimaginable whole new world that'll hand your ass to you by those you know and show you a humanity by those you don't or barely know.

  14. #14
    Housing markets are crazy EVERYWHERE right now. I haven't spoken to a single person PCS'ing this year who has said anything different. We looked hard for 3 months and didn't find anything we wanted to spend the money on, so back on base it is....

  15. #15
    creepycrawler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 74BuckinBronc View Post
    Housing markets are crazy EVERYWHERE right now. I haven't spoken to a single person PCS'ing this year who has said anything different. We looked hard for 3 months and didn't find anything we wanted to spend the money on, so back on base it is....
    Yup. My house in Oklahoma is valued at about 90 % over what I paid for it. Ridiculous.....

  16. #16
    ASCTLC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1BGDOG View Post
    All good info.
    One of my wife's former co-workers lost their house in the Marshall Fire. She has been sharing info like this with her friends.
    They are slowly getting just "stuff" folks take for granted... like a couch. They ordered it 3 months ago and finally are getting it. !
    It's all just stuff unless it's your stuff. People may think they mean well but "It's just stuff." is the last F'n thing anyone should tell someone who's lost everything. And worse is what we heard "At least you get all new stuff". The temptation to beat someone senseless comes strong when they say ignorant shit like that.

    eta: Not accusing you of saying or implying that, just making a general statement to anyone who might come across someone who's lost everything.

  17. #17
    1BGDOG's Avatar
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    No I get it!! We (along with many friends and co-workers) helped them get set up after they lost their home and all the "stuff" (again) we take for granted.
    Oh you have a cat? Here is litter for the next few months, cat toys, etc.
    Oh you don't have towels or only the clothes on your back?
    Crazy what we take for granted or "normal".
    Thanks for all the insight too.



    Quote Originally Posted by ASCTLC View Post
    It's all just stuff unless it's your stuff. People may think they mean well but "It's just stuff." is the last F'n thing anyone should tell someone who's lost everything. And worse is what we heard "At least you get all new stuff". The temptation to beat someone senseless comes strong when they say ignorant shit like that.

    eta: Not accusing you of saying or implying that, just making a general statement to anyone who might come across someone who's lost everything.
    Last edited by 1BGDOG; May 17th, 2022 at 10:17 AM.

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