Race Against Time: Important Things to Pack Before Abandoning Home

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RENO, NV - There are some things you believe you just can't live without--maybe it's an antique passed down to you, or an autographed photo from your favorite athlete, but when fires threaten your home, how do you decide what you value the most before leaving it all behind?

It's the one knock that could determine your fate, a knock that starts the clock. For the Brunsons, they had less than 30 minutes to decide what to save.

"We didn't have a whole lot of warning because we didn't think we had to be evacuated," Kevin Brunson, a Reno resident said. "We were out in 15-20 minutes so it was just a mad rush. All of us were grabbing stuff. We had the kids grab what was important to them and what was important to us."

As more time passes, the more decisions you're forced to make.

"I don't know if we grabbed the right stuff, but we grabbed what we could grab and got out," he added.

Before you know it, you've run out of time. Kevin Brunson and his family know the feeling all too well. In 2011, they were evacuated before the Caughlin Fire ripped through town.

Brunson had to decide what was worth saving and what would be lost to the flames.

" grabbed clothes, we grabbed food, we grabbed any money that we could grab our hands on. we didn't know how long we were going to be out."

"In a strong wind, you're not going to have much time. With little wind, if the fire is really big, we'll have a little more notice," said Chief Charles Moore of the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District. "The thing we want to stress, sometimes it's go and go quickly."

Every minute you take to decide what to save is one less minute to act.

"You don't have time when there's a fire advancing on your home, there's just not enough time to take all the things that you want," Chief Moore said. "If you're scrambling to take the possessions that you need to evacuate than that's too late."

Firefighters have seen it all and their best advice is to start preparing now.

"You need things like prescription medications, you need supplies to sustain yourself for 24 hours or 48 hours until there's an evacuation center established," he added.

A few minutes now will save you precious time when you need it most.

Fortunately, for the Brunsons, their evacuation was just a precaution; their home survived and it was a lesson for the next time they may have to pick up and run.