By Sarah Domier, Red Cross Volunteer
On Tuesday December 5, I was woken up by the sound of loud bangs on my door. I quickly got out of bed and peeked through my window. There were three police cars in my cul-de-sac and I could see two police officers on two different neighbors’ front porches. When my ears had adjusted from the sudden noise and from waking up, I realized that there were helicopters flying very closely over-head, just above the mountains.
I opened the door for the police officer and he informed me, my brother and my neighbor that we were under a mandatory evacuation due to the nearby Creek Wildfire. If we decided to stay he would need our names. We decided to stay for a while so we could contact our parents and see what they wanted to do. Our parents left work early to help us pack and prepare to leave.
Luckily, we have Emergency Preparedness Kits packed and ready for our entire family, including our dog and kitten. Because of this, we just needed to pack personal items. From this experience I’ve learned that I’m a nervous packer, who completely over packs! Our cars were ready to go so we kept close watch on the news, the @PrepareSocal and @RedCrossLA Twitter accounts, and the current road closures.
Around 6 pm, we decided it was time to leave as the Creek Fire was still only at 10% contained. The four of us split up: my parents and our pup went to my grandpa’s house, my brother and kitten went to a friend’s home, and I went to my boyfriend’s family’s house. This was the first time in my 24 years living in LA that I have ever had to evacuate! We’re normally the house everyone else comes to when they’re being evacuated, so for me, it was a terrifying change of events.
Still keeping a close eye on the fire, which on our end was no longer visible, we returned home the very next day. While I felt safe, I was incredibly heartbroken for all of the families that lost their homes and pets, and for all the people who may have had zero warning to get out.
Throughout this entire ordeal, I sought comfort in the knowledge I’ve learned from my years of experience as a Red Cross volunteer. Also, knowing that the Red Cross was nearby, ready to provide a safe place to stay, warm blankets and hot meals for myself, my family and others affected by the Creek Fire, added comfort during a time when I needed it most!
Sarah Domier has been a Red Cross volunteer for over three years and is currently the volunteer partner of the Los Angeles Region’s Digital Communications Manager, Ashley Henyan. In addition to writing a monthly blog, Sarah can be seen in numerous Social Media and YouTube videos produced by the Los Angeles Region.