Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Great Fire of 2009: Lessons I Learned

This is going to be an a-typical post. However, I feel so strongly about thus topic, that I think it's worth discussing. Exactly one year ago, N and I experienced something that most people never have to go through; we survived a fire.

It was 3.00am when we woke up to a massive BOOM! There was a gas leak in our neighbors apartment, and as she lit a cigarette, her apartment exploded, subsequently causing her wall to collapse into out yard and onto our wall. As N, Otto and I evacuated our apartment, we had to crawl under burning debris; it was surreal. Luckily, there was only one serious injury (she has since recovered) but no casualties, and in the end, everyone's lives rebounded and returned to normal. But here's the lessons i've learned.

1. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE INSURANCE! It's a pre-requisite if you're a homeowner, but for all my renting readers PLEASE get renters insurance. It's not a lot per year, and will be worth it should you ever have to suffer through a fire or robbery. You may be thinking "oh, my stuff isn't worth much", but trust me, every pair of jeans and shoes, every book, every piece of furniture adds up, and would be very difficult to replace all at once (unless you have a trust fund or have been VERY financially responsible). Besides, you are responsible for clearing the hazardous debris, so at the very least, your insurance will cover that.

2. Order of importance
(b)Pets: make sure you have extra collars and leashes/carriers by all your exit doors.
(c)cellphone: sounds silly, but you WILL need it. A lot.
(d)your purse/wallet

This is going to sound callous, but beyond a and b, NOTHING is important. It's all stuff, sentimental or not. c and d are just practical and make your life easier in the immediate hours following the fire, but you can and will be ok without them.

3. Don't be afraid to ask for and accept help
This is not the time to be proud or shy. There are so many details to take care of that they can get almost overwhelming. Lean on your support system.

4. If people and pets are safe, long run, everything will be fine.

If you shop for anything this week, please let it be renters insurance if you don't have it already. I hope you never have to go through a fire, but if you do, insurance will help make sure all your "stuff" is replaced. This I know from experience.

We'll be back to more "normal" posts tomorrow!

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