Episode 43: Meredith's Personal Story on Disaster : Santa Barbara Tea Fire

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What happens when a wildfire is in the distance and it's coming toward your home? Talk Show Host, Meredith Medland shares her personal account waiting for notice to evacuate her home due to the Santa Barbara Tea Fire -- a fire that swept away over 220 homes within 6 hours in Montecito, CA on November 11, 2008. Meredith is raw with honesty about how and why she could have been better prepared, what stopped her from taking "disaster preparation" advice from her peer group and what she learned about the importance of self-responsiblity in dealing with black-outs, evacuations and smoke inhalation.

Andre Angelotoni, Post Peak Living and Natural Disaster Preparation expert, engages with Meredith' about her "in the moment" twitter feeds from the evening as reviewing a "stickies" MAC note of "things to remember" for the future that Meredith compiled while listening to her battery powered radio to she when it was time to evacuate her home. The play-by-play account of the experience combined with Andre's expert how to's and next steps, are so intimate and transformative, they will inspire and empower you to create the motivation you need to prepare yourself, immediately, for potential challengese your community and planet are facing as our nation becomes more familiar with devistation from fire, floods, earthquakes and natural disasters. Forget "conspiracy theory" and the world ending - this is about right NOW - an in-depth focus on real information and personal account of this 5 acre fire which raced to over 1900 acres, creating over $5.7 million dollars damage and needing attention from 750 firefighters and support personnel to bring it to containment.

Transcript

Female: This program is brought to you by PersonalLifeMedia.com.

Meredith Medland: You are listening to Living Green:  Effortless Ecology for Everyday People.  I’m your host Meredith Medland, and today, we’ll be speaking about the “Tea Fire”.  The tea fire happened in Santa Barbara, California at approximately 5:15 p.m. on November 13th.  They turned out to be quiet and extraordinary fire over 2,000 acres were burned.  230 residence were destroyed, that’s 230 actual houses were destroyed, nine residences were damaged.  756 firefighters and support personnel came together with an estimated firefighting cost of 5.7 million.  Today, we’ve got a little bit different episode for you.  Today, I’m joined by André Angelantoni and he’s been on Living Green before.  He’s the founder of Inspiring Green Leadership, which is a training and coaching company dedicated to supporting businesses who want to live on a thriving and healthy planet.  So, it was important by having André on the show today as then in our past interview, which we’ve talked about disaster preparation and go back and he and I have had a lot of exchange about what to do to prepare for peak oil.  So I called him and I said André, I would love to have you on the show again because I learned many, many things from myself about my own personal experience during that tea fire because I was affected by it living in Santa Barbara.

André Angelantoni: Having some sort of preparation we’ll mean that you are going to think more clearly and you’re going to make proper choices rather than being in that kind of fog, the confusion of not knowing what you should do next.  So, there’s one more level that you can go because it’s really interesting what you mention about this -- the cell phone communication, we’ll go down in a natural disaster and not only for you to make sure that your love ones are in a safe condition but also for which can get the word out to let the authorities know where help is needed.  If you can’t communicate to the outside world then it’s really hard for them to know how to help you.  There are a lot of ways that you could find yourself where you can get out of harms way, if you don’t have a little bit of preparation ahead of time.  And so I recommend keep a couple of gallons of gasoline with a fuel stabilizer check, you know, used it every two years and then replace it with another set of two gallons and to stabilized or maybe five gallons and it’s as simple as that.  The good thing about Coleman lantern is that -- is with the gallon of Coleman fuel they operate for a very, very long time, they’re extremely bright and if you don’t have electricity that’s another way for you to get light.  Of course with the Coleman lantern to make sure that you get the dual fuel ones because they can take both on and lighted fuel from your car as well as regular white Coleman fuel.

Meredith Medland: I’d officially like to welcome André Angelantoni to our show.  Hi, André.

André Angelantoni: Thanks for having me again, Meredith.

Meredith Medland: Yeah, anything else you want to share in the introduction, to tell our listeners more about what you’re doing since the last time we spoke?

André Angelantoni: Yeah, I think -- I don’t exactly remember if I mention this last time but my new company is actually called PostPeakLiving.com and that’s actually a better resource for people to go to, to find out how to get themselves prepared in the sorts of ways that we’re going to talk about on this phone call.

Meredith Medland: Thank you.  So, here are essentially three outcomes, which are you know, three outcomes as a separate business of mine about creating specific measurable result and I wanted to roll that concept into this podcast so that you know at the beginning of the podcast what you are listening to, then you’ll know it will be a value to you.  So, today, André and I are going to discuss three main things.  So the first is “What happened when you have heard information about being prepared and you are not prepared?”  You’ll are also hear a personal account and that will be actually my account as well as repetition of some of the accounts that I heard while as a reporting on the fire about some very, very surprising details about what happened during a natural disaster.  And this is more the psychological standpoint:  “Who are your legions that you’re relying to?”  And “Who is taking care of you in process, or are you taking care of others?”  Many of those things that arrived that are secondary to being prepared for a disaster but actually the psychology of what happens during a disaster.  So that will the second part that we will address.  And then third is what you can expect from this -- really conversation between André and I in this episode is to hear André’s viewpoint about what they had for our nation and areas where he thinks that we really need to prepare and then he’ll go through some resources for you to prepare and then I will actually add in some of the things that I learned because starting out and we’ll get right into the story here.  I actually wasn’t prepared for the tea fire and I was the one that I did the interview with André, which was all about how to prepare for disaster, so that’s probably is a good place to start.  So, André what do you do when you share this information with me of course, as an interviewer and so many people who know what they need to do to prepare for a natural disaster or for Post Peak Living but haven’t really listened or taken action on the information?

André Angelantoni: I think the thing to do is just keeping talking about it, just keep on expanding the conversation and for some people there probably won’t be anything other than a natural disaster or some sort of emergency that really wakes them up to the fact that we are moving into a whole new world where -- responsibility for ourselves that we haven’t had to really worry about for maybe decades.  And, James Hassinger, the former Energy Secretary said that the nation has two modes either complacency or a panic.  And, we might be in complacency period right now and we are probably not going to wake up and really start getting an action until something happens but that doesn’t mean that the people who are listening to this podcast can get a jump on that.

Meredith Medland: Sure.  Well that’s the thing that I wanted to share with you as a listener.  So, why don’t I set the stage a little bit for what happened for me and then André and I have had a brief conversation about it, and we will share with you some of the things that I learned in some of the resources that André has.  So, I walked out of the News Press building, which in downtown Santa Barbara and I walked out of the doors and I looked up into the mountains and there was a ridge that was on fire.  And it really caught me by surprise it was a warm night and it was about quarter to six although the report says the fire started at ten to six or somewhere around that time.  I looked up into the mountains and then all of a sudden I started noticing that car started to slowdown and it was literally like everyone stopped and was scared.  And I thought this was pretty unusual you know, just a little odd until I tried started listening to what everyone was saying, you know, I was excited to be at the local newspaper because obviously with reporters and access to news, I figured we’d  be able to find out what was going on.  So, the first thing that happened is there was a lot of confusion.  The next thing that happened was, it was time to go home, it was a Friday night.  And, so I went home and turned on the radio and my roommate came home and we turned on the radio and then it was -- there was a lot of fear and panic and I remember the first thing that I had heard was that it was a probability that the lights were going to go out.  The electricity was going to go off within the next half an hour and that the fire was spreading rapidly.  It started out at five acres at first and then by the time I had gotten home at about ten after six, it had already grown to a hundred acres.  So, as I just said the first part of the scene; number one came confusion; number two was a warning that there is a probability that electricity is going to go out.  And then, all right number two, I’m sorry number two was we turned on the radio; and then number three there is a warning that the electricity will go out.  And André I like you kind of jump in from here because you have heard some portions of the story then about for you to pull out what you think is relevant.

André Angelantoni: I think that -- I think that we are going to be living with a lot more of these kinds of experiences that you are describing that you just looked through.  We are going to deal with it for a number of reasons.  People probably know what’s happening with climate change and climate change you can already see that decade-by-decade we are having more forest fires, you can also see that we are having more droughts; we’re having more emergencies of all sorts.  But if you go to the PostPeakLiving.com website and you go click on the Guide to Post Peak Living, you will see in one of the chapters on Disaster Preparation, a map of the whole USA and it’s color-coded by county.  And you will see the number of presidential disaster declarations per county and it’s really astonishing.  Virtually, every county in the nation has had multiple disaster declarations over the last 30 to 40 years.  So, the chance of anyone who is listening to this living through a disaster is actually really high, it’s almost guaranteed that at one point in your life you are going to have something like this that you are going to have work through.  So, the first thing is that it is absolutely not a rare thing that people have to worry about what you went through.  The most common disaster in North America is actually flooding.  It causes the most damage in terms of dollars and it dislocates the most people.  But it may not be as scary sometimes as fire although I think people who live through that might dispute that.  So that’s the first thing for people to get.  And then the second thing for people to get is that it makes a world of difference to go into one of these kinds of situations with some sort of preparation.  And the very basic kind of preparation is to have extra food, extra money because what also happens in these sorts of things is the ATMs go down and if you have only plastic, then you won’t be able to get a hotel room even if you can get out of the danger zone because your credit card won’t work or your ATM won’t work.  Again, if you go to the disaster preparation chapter, it will walk through all the sorts of things that you should be looking at so that you can handle one of these sorts of things, from the money, from the food, from having maybe an extra jerry can of gasoline because gasoline although it’s cheap now, it will go back up in price and then we will start to have shortages.  And, if you start planning ahead of time you’ll also feel much more confident going into one of these things that you can weather through it.

Meredith Medland: Of course now I realize that that’s actually true.  I want to share, share with our listeners a little bit about what happened in that process.  So, I -- as soon as I realized things were actually pretty serious and I went to Google and started looking around for a local new sources and getting more information, and realized that the update was rather slow but I stepped outside and I could actually see the fire was really close to my house.  So I mapped it on Google where they said the first evacuation was starting to occur and realized that it was -- I think it was 2.9, the first time I Googled there and then it was 2.2 miles away.  And at the pace that the fire was moving, I remember it went from literally five acres to 2,000 acres.  And it was fast and every -- probably 12 minutes there was a bigger update and then the whole area started to blaze and it literally looked like the fire was coming really, really right on top of my house.  And then, as that occurring the reports started saying who were -- what were the next people that needed to evacuate.  And then right as they talking there would be a possibility of evacuation near my street, the lights went out.  And the first place that I would like to start as far as just getting really serious about, if you are listening to this show and you are not prepared for a natural disaster or Post Peak Living or whatever angle you want to take on getting your things together.  What I really am I hoping that you will get after this interview is, it’s time to get your shit together.  And you know, obviously I’m saying that for me too because I made that -- the mistake of not doing that.  So, first listening to my internal intuition would have been a really wise idea.  So I knew that the light would probably go out but I still at that -- when I found out that I was not taking it that seriously and I though oh I should plug in my cell phone.  But I didn’t instead I went in and cook meal and I realized that that’s you know, really getting myself fed and kind of distressed from the day, was just a natural way to take care of myself.  And I noticed that I was being -- like you doing the dishes and I was taking a higher level of impeccability, was what I was doing.  And I think that that was one of ways that I was dealing with the stressor of the experience.  Have you read any research André on how that works through people on disasters?

André Angelantoni: Well, I don’t have it off top of my head right now but absolutely having some sort of preparation will mean that you are going to think more clearly and you are going to make proper choices rather than being in that kind of fog, the confusion of not knowing what you should do next.

Meredith Medland: Right.

André Angelantoni: I mean, you -- you have thought of ahead of time what are the proper steps to do, I recently got my FEMA Volunteer Certification Training for Disasters.  So now I actually have a really clear idea what’s going to happen in the disaster, I know how to take care of my home, my wife and me and then of course of the volunteers then I show up at one of pre-ordain spots.  This is for -- when we have the big earthquake here in California and then I can help with others.  But because I have had the training not only will I be more prepared myself, I’ll even actually be in a position to help others around me.

Meredith Medland: Can you -- do you have a resource where people can look up that training?

André Angelantoni: Well, I know there are two kind of basic names that you can find them either a search, which is Community Emergency Response Training, so people can just Google search CERT.  In San Francisco, they call it the NERT, which is the Neighborhood Emergency Response Training.  And often it’s free, it’s something like a six different sessions after work hours or you can do it in three Saturdays in a row, which is what I did.  And then when you are done, you have a little test and then you get a FEMA card and you are basically signing up for when -- when an emergency hits and you get also a kit, you get a hard hat, you get a vest, a reflective vest.  You are basically signing up to say that you have some training.  You can go through buildings that have maybe collapsed in the earthquake and if they are not just about to fall, you know when it’s safe to go in there, look for survivors.  Do basic medical treatment that sort of thing.

Meredith Medland: Um-hmm.  I -- I want to let the people know who are Santa Barbara or Southern California listeners that I actually researched that after you told me about that on our last interview.  And there is a Friday, Saturday, Sunday course in Ventura and then there are also as you said, are weekly classes and there is a lot of them.  So, anyways it was really for me easy to find when I Googled it.

André Angelantoni: There is one more level that you can go because it’s really interesting what you mentioned about the cell phone communication we’ll go down in a natural disaster.  And, not only for you to make sure that your loved ones are in a safe condition but also so that you can get word out to let the authorities know where help is needed.  If you can’t get back -- if you can’t make some -- if you can’t communicate to the outside world then it’s really hard for them to know how to help you.  I’m actually going to the next level and this is not going to be for everyone but it might be interesting for people to know.  And that is that if you get your amateur radio license, which is inexpensive license to get, $15.00 and you pass the test, you will be able to run amateur radio and there’s a very extensive network actually all over the world of amateur radio operators and what these people do specifically during emergency situations is they became the communicators.  They set up their equipments at a table and they -- for a community make sure that information can move in and out.  That might be something else for people to look into.  I’m studying for the course right now.

Meredith Medland: And what would that search term be in Google.

André Angelantoni: Ham, H-A-M as in Mary.

Meredith Medland: OK, I got it.  So, I love that you mentioned that.  Here -- here is sort of what happened next for me.  So, I -- all of a sudden when the electricity went out and then I realized I didn’t really know exactly where the matches and the candles were and where the flash lights were.  Things were just not in one place and not very well organized.  And then, I got off the radio and the radio -- the batteries were dead in the radio because ideally you don’t put your batteries in your electronics that you want to use during disasters, which is sort of funny now, it was not that funny then.  And, what I also was -- I think one of the more shocking experiences during the whole time for me is when they said that the cell towers were burning and that the cell phone coverage would probably go out in about 30 minutes.  And that really shocked me because what I was doing during the whole event was using my twitter feed, which is Meredith Medland on Twitter to literally update people.  And the first reaction that I had is as soon as the fire experience went from oh there is a fire and then to look up my door and see people actually starting to pack their suitcases into their cars in my neighborhood, and the blaze was really close and it started to get really scary.  There were helicopters being brought in doing water dams in the walls of the house were staring to shake you know but -- really, really loud as if like a great rendition of helicopter noise but you know it was -- it was super intense.  There is almost more intense with the sound than it actually was and I also noticed that the media coverage from a radio standpoint, it was almost really fear -- fear based but really they were just trying to protect us and give us information.  So, the tension was quite high and during that time.  So, this is the most, this is really the transition now in this story from where I realized things were serious, we were about to be evacuated and the lights had gone out at half -- you know, half a battery left in my cell phone but knowing that I could use my car and leave.  So it wasn’t quite that tragic but they were reporting that a lot of freeways and roadways were starting to overflow with people because both people wanted to watch the fire and get into it and then secondly people wanted to get evacuate from up in the mountains.  So, people were coming down on horses and do you remember 230 homes, the most of these were $5 million or more homes and these were gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous homes and in a really wealthy area of Santa Barbara.  So, I’m going to need a minute, take a pause and like to jump in comment on what I just said but what’s next and we can cover this after the commercial break is I wanted to read everyone the list of that I made in a Mac [xx], I just hide in my computer screen and I thought oh my gosh, I -- this is -- I need to document what’s happening, you know because I’m having a whole experience that I’m going to need a reference later and make sure I get my acting gear for the next time otherwise I might not be so lucky.  So, we will take a commercial break and just a moment to thank our sponsors but before we do that André I just want to pass the baton over you to wrap this up before the break.

André Angelantoni: OK.  So, a couple of things out of what you said, I would say that you really hit the nail on head for some of these things.  Having those items in a certain shelf, in a certain cupboard or part of your earthquake kit, which is probably the best place for them to go, where you know how to get them and that they are reasonably fresh batteries or that they have been recharged if they are researchable is really typically important.  Another thing that people can do is there are a whole series of products now, Duracell has one called the power-pack that is basically a joint battery with a handle on it and I have got mine plugged in so that its constantly charged.  And it’s this big thing but the size of a car battery, I guess and that means that I can plug anything in that has a three-prong outlet.  So, that I can get juice for about ten hours after it go -- after the power of the house goes out.  So that’s another possibility that could be away but it’s itself that you run out of juice for your cell phone and addressing that specifically you could charge it up with that and at least have some more communications if the cell towers were up.

Meredith Medland: Awesome.  Thank you for that.  We are going to take a break to thank our sponsors.  When we come back from the break I will tell you about those insights that were happening in the moment.  We will talk a little bit more about some of things that you can do and also some of the psychology and the actual physical sensation, the body sensation of what it’s like being in a disaster and not being prepared.  And then what it’s like preparing for disaster and really realizing there is a future that you are living into and how to deal with this sort of mind melts about preparing for some these, often scary or things like give a little bit more of a heart race, race to the heartbeat.  So, thank you so much for listening to Living Green, remember that you can follow along at LivingGreenStory.com, and you can go there and find out more information.  We’re going to take a break.  In a meantime you can always go to AudiblePodcast.com/Green.  Audible is one of my sponsors in my show, so if you want to ordinary book, there is a discount if you go to AudiblePodcast/Green, so check it out.  Thanks to our sponsors and here we go.

Male: Hey this is Sean Daily, host of Green Talk Radio.  Green Talk helps you navigate the maze of green and eco-products on the today and make smarter lifestyle choices at home and at work through informative and entertaining interviews with industry authors and experts as well as executives from innovative companies around the world.  Find Green Talk Radio on iTunes or at PersonalLifeMedia.com.  Green Talk Radio, environmental stewardship through smart consumption.  Green Talk Radio.

Meredith Medland: You’re listening to Living Green:  Effortless Ecology for Everyday People.  My name is Meredith and I am here with André Angelantoni.  All right André, I’m going to read this list and I love for you to get into a little bit more detail.  So, listener this is the second part that I promised you.  So, these are the notes that I wrote to myself while this whole event was happening about things that I wanted to make sure that I did.  So, always and you know this was just sort of notes to me.  So I haven’t edited this at all.  So, always know where your candles, matches and flashlights are.  Put everything in one place.  Get a radio that works without batteries.  Have an alternate way to charge your cell phone.  Keep your gas tank full.  Now, I just want to pause there for a minute because André, in -- the last time I interviewed you, you told me -- you told the whole ideas to keep your gas tanks three quarters or more full and the first thing that happened is my roommate went to go fill his gas tank and there were people lined up filling their tanks with gas.  And he couldn’t get gas and so, I just thought it was interesting it was just like you told me that I knew that and there was right there in action.

André Angelantoni: Well, can I just say something with that.

Meredith Medland: Yes, always.

André Angelantoni: Yeah it’s -- I tend to keep mine about half full and then when I’ve got some jerry canes with gasoline and then what you can do is you can put a fuel stabilizer because gasoline doesn’t last for longer than about six months.  If you are lucky maybe nine or twelve months in the cane without the fuel stabilizer, but the fuel stabilizer can last a couple of years.  Now, you have to store it in a safe place but there is a couple of reasons why you may not be able to get the fuel when you come out of an emergency.  One, you get the lineup might be long and they might simply run out that’s one thing.  The second thing is that if the power goes out then the pumps don’t run.  So the gasoline might still be underground but they can’t get into your car.  And even if they can get it into your car the electricity is out or the toll communication system is out and you don’t have cash they won’t be able to get the money out of your debit -- off your debit card or your credit card.  There are a lot of ways that you could find yourself where you can’t get out of harms way.  If you don’t a little bit of preparation ahead of time.  And so, I recommend to keep a couple gallons of gasoline with the fuel stabilizer, check you know, use it every two years and then replace it with another set of two gallons and the stabilizer or maybe five gallons and it’s as simple as that.

Meredith Medland: Thank you.  Keep inserting I like that.  So, I’m going to go through the next sort of pocket of things.  OK so, I also wrote keep your life organized, so it’s clear and in order when something happens.  Then I come off just sort of crazy week and there were just sort of things scattered around I realized like oh right if you don’t have things totally in order most of the time.  When the time to actually take action particularly in the State of California where there is a higher probability for disaster.  It can make things more challenging.  Another whole reason for keeping your room and house clean and organized.  Know where your passport is.  Make a little backpack that is for navigating around with two water bottles, candles and a light that was something I actually wanted because I was sort of curious to go outside and wonder what was happening and thought oh, this would have been a great time for backpack.  Make sure your bike is ready.  So, that was one alternative when I realized that there was so much traffic in fact.  I have had well the easiest thing to do is actually ride my bike away from the fire.  And I was glad that I had that next in line, buy a motorcycle.  My motorcycle’s license and André, and I have a motor cycle as well.  And it seems like wow, a motorcycle would have been a really easy way to navigate through this habit disaster come even closer to my house.  You want to talk a little bit about that?

André Angelantoni: Yeah actually there are a couple of things I want to jump in and talk about.  The first one is talking about light.  If the people don’t have an LED flashlight they should get one because they are really inexpensive now.  They are extremely powerful and the benefit of an LED flashlight is that they can provide light for a very long time on one set of batteries because they use very little juice comparatively.  I was at the home depot just this weekend they were selling five of them for $10.00 practically giving them to you I think at that price.  So, one thing is definitely get an LED flashlight.  You can also get a whole series of LED lanterns and these are great because they are designed to stand up on a table.  So, if your power goes out you can put a lantern in the middle of your table.  You can absolutely use candles but a lot of fires get started from candles because they tipped over.

Meredith Medland: Sure.

André Angelantoni: And you just may not need to do that anymore.  You can use these LED lanterns.  And then the third way to get light of course is using a Coleman lantern and the good thing about Coleman lanterns is that with a gallop of Coleman fuel they operate for a very, very long time.  They are extremely bright and if you don’t have electricity that’s another way for you to get light.  Of course with the Coleman lanterns make sure that you get the dual fuel ones because they can take both on lighted fuel from your car as well as regular white Coleman fuel.

Meredith Medland: Oh that’s a genius tip.  That was worth listening to the whole broadcast.

André Angelantoni: There you go exactly and you can do the same thing if you get a gas stove, because if you can’t cook and you have pasta for instance that you want to eat then because you don’t have electricity or they have to turn off the natural gas and then all of a sudden you are -- you’re not going to be crunching on dry pasta but you can still boil water with a Coleman stove and again if you get a dual fuel Coleman stove, if you run out of the Coleman fuel you can go to your car, sucking out some gasoline and a little work on that too.

Meredith Medland: Awesome.  All right, next part of the -- next part of a list was all about communication.  And it’s interesting because this you know, this was time based.  So, in the middle of this whole experience I was using twitter via my cell phone to keep in touch with some friends and that was my immediate -- immediate thing that I did was call everybody I know and talk to everybody I know.  And what I realized were a couple of things.  Number one is I would wanted to have a group list set up that was my you know, 10 to 12 people but they would you know, attract me and I would attract them.. And I didn’t have the ability to do that without you know organizing on the fly but it would -- would be great to have that prepared in advance.  The second is I actually didn’t know how to use group text on my iPhone and that would have been way easier to get the message out and it turns that it was really important that I was texting because there were a number of people that lived in Mendocino they were friends of mine, they didn’t even know there was a fire.  And that text turned out to be a really important piece of information for them in their evacuation stages.

André Angelantoni: Meredith, can I just -- can I drop in there because there’s ---

Meredith Medland: Please.

André Angelantoni: Yeah, there are two great things about ---

Meredith Medland: Please.

André Angelantoni: So, in disaster preparation -- people who trained me made it a point that you set up someone outside of your state who you can use as a message -- as a messenger.  So, let’s say I was living in Colorado but you were having trouble here you would call me and then anyone else who you wanted to know about you they would also call me and I would act as the relay.  The reason is that what happens in emergencies is the trunk circuits within a local area get easily maxed out but the trunk circuits that leave the area to another state often are open.

Meredith Medland: Neat.  I didn’t know that.

André Angelantoni: So the only telephone calls you can make are to -- from state-to-state rather than within the state.  So that’s if you want to make a voice phone call and really that’s --- that’s a great thing to do, you can just get a lot more accomplished in a voice conversation sometimes.  But the other thing that you did say, which is also excellent, it’s people have it is the -- the networks that we will operate often and not always, when the cell phone system can’t handle the load is the texting network.

Meredith Medland: Um-hmm.

André Angelantoni: And so, often people can get text out of the emergency area even when they can’t make a phone call whether it’s out of state or in state.

Meredith Medland: Well, there are a lot of people I couldn’t get through via phone that’s actually why I transitioned to text.  So, I had that experience of oh no, the cell phone cover is going to burn and I can’t get through to my friend and here’s the -- it’s pretty disturbing.  I’m kind of you know, I find myself started giggling of it right now and really not just the discomfort is I’m sitting here looking at this yellow sticky and the things that were gone out.  I was pretty scared -- as much scared is the right word but the intensity, I guess that’s a more appropriate kind of sensation piece.  The other thing that I did that I found was the really key is I immediately changed my voicemail greeting and said because people started calling me because they knew either I told them about the firemen, they knew that the fire was coming close to my house.  So, then all of a sudden there was this dialogue that was occurring.  So, I changed my voicemail greeting and said where I was and what the time was and when I intended to change and update the voicemail greeting as the way just to say everything was OK.  Because the fire started to go national -- I don’t know what time it was national but I started to see report near 9:30 around that time and that’s when out-of-state people started to respond and what’s happening there.  So, I imagined in the case of 9/11 when I was calling a friend of mine that lived in New York City at the time.  It would have been really hopeful to just get a voicemail and said hey, I’m OK, I’m not returning phone calls and you know, I will change my greeting and let you know what were changes.  So, do you have any thoughts on that?

André Angelantoni: I haven’t heard about the voicemail although I think that’s -- that’s a good idea with exception I don’t know if you are ever going to really know where you end up.  Because if you start on the road.  I mean it’s good for people to hear that that you had the presence of mind so that you could change the voicemail and probably yeah, I’m just thinking about actually it that’s good idea if you say look I will contact you, when I get settled sort of thing, because I’m going to be difficult to reach and then the person that I will leave that message with is so-and-so my uncle or my friend or whatever.  That’s actually ---

Meredith Medland: In our case -- yeah, in our case because it was an evacuation, the real question was have you evacuated yet from your house ---

André Angelantoni: Right.

Meredith Medland: --- and one of the other things that they said over the radio was to put an “X” in duct tape over your house and leave all your lights on if you had electricity.  So that the fire crew would know that your house has already been evacuated, so something else knew that I didn’t -- hadn’t heard before.

André Angelantoni: Yeah that’s great.

Meredith Medland: Yeah, all right.  And this glancing over these -- so, loved the use of the web to be in communication and would have loved to have a list of people.  So, I could just send out a group email”  Hey, here’s what’s going on, here’s my plan, here’s you know, where I’m headed; and also in that backpack of things to have just available, something to help with this smell of smoke that was a huge.  Our whole house got ashy and there were a lot of people with respiratory infections.  So, breathing and I was particularly close to the fire.  So, you know but breathing was a hard time we had.  You know, handkerchief, you know, a lot of people had smoke masks on.  And let’s see, I’m just going to wrap this up now because this seems like we’re going a reflective gear, so it was night, would have love to have some reflective running gear because people started to get a little bit crazy, driver started to get a little crazy.  The horns were going in the streets and there was definitely the sense of phoneticness in the air and then the last piece because I wrap it up and then talk it back to you, is take help when people give it you.  And, I think maybe that’s a good place for us to wrap up this portion and then we will come back from a break and then just have about three or four minutes of conversation.  People were offering help to other people and I noticed both in myself and others that I spoke to after the event, not everybody was taking help when it was offered and I think sometimes this independent seriousness or I can do it or everything is OK or no, I’m not going to evacuate till the last minute.  Can potentially be dangerous and a lot of the reporting that I did post to the events to the following night.  I actually became a reporter on the scene and interviewed people and you can say -- see that in the videos up on my Facebook Profile at Meredith Medland but just found people were annoyed taking help.  So that’s my last recommendation.  So, André take us out to this next break and get more comments on those items?

André Angelantoni: Yes, there are a couple of things that I don’t think I heard you say; one of them is a sleeping bag.

Meredith Medland: Yeah.

André Angelantoni: And a tent, make sure that you have a sleeping bag and a tent and enough space for every member of your household.  There is absolutely no guarantee that you are going to get to stay in a hotel.  Often what happened in emergencies is hotels for miles and miles and miles, hundred of miles get filled up.  And there is just simply no room.  So, the -- having a tent and a sleeping bags for everyone could mean the difference between sleeping in your car, which is terribly uncomfortable.  And being able to find some sort of soft dry spot and being a little bit more comfortable.  The other thing I would say is make sure that you have got sufficient medicines.  A lot of people are dependent on medicine for their day-to-day living.  And if you don’t have enough of those, if you don’t have a little bit a buffer, you could end up in a medical emergency inside of the emergency that you are dealing with and then that makes things really, really hard.  Then the last thing I would just really emphasize is have some extra cash in house because there is no guarantee that are you going to be able to get to a bank and things are going to cost money when you leave the emergency area whether it’s a hotel or food or gasoline and there is no guarantee that your plastic is going to work in fact it’s most likely not going to work.

Meredith Medland: Um-hmm, how -- how much?

André Angelantoni: I have a thousand dollars.

Meredith Medland: In what denominations?

André Angelantoni: I have them in hundreds.  I just went to the bank and took out a thousand dollars in hundreds and -- and then I also purchased a safe.  So, I keep it in there along with my marriage certificate and our documents.

Meredith Medland: Oh, what about marriage certificate that’s very important you know pro love and marriage.  OK, we are going to take a break.  We got to get to, you know, love in there anywhere OK.  So, we are going to take a break to thank our sponsors, we’re going to come back after the break, it will about four minutes long after the break.  We are just going to wrap it up with some really awesome ideas from André and before we go to the break.  I just want to let you know that Enya, who is one of the most successful female artist of all time is sponsoring my show with a winter-themed album for the holiday.  So, there is two traditional Christmas songs and 10 originals.  So, it’s called “And Winter Came…” and we have a special offer, this is available to you and you’ll hear that in the commercial as well as I’m excited about the Enya that sponsor for Living Green so, remember you can go to LivingGreenStory.com and in the meantime you can also go to MeredithMedland.com and if you want to learn more about André, and all his tips and tricks and awesome thing, you can go to PostPeakLiving.com.  We’ll be back right after that.

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Meredith Medland: Welcome back from the break.  I’m Meredith and I’m here with André.  We are going to give you an action pact last four minutes and here is hard where I get even more vulnerable for your guys.  So, the reason I have got André on this show is because when I learned in this process more than anything is that I needed to take more personal responsibility for preparing myself -- myself for whether it was a natural disaster or God forbid some other awful thing that happened.  But, but the beauty in the same way I love to investing my body by working out or eating good food and those things but I needed to invest it myself by being prepared.  And getting educated wasn’t enough.  When I interviewed André, well I think it’s maybe been ten weeks ago or so, I got all inspired and I though I’m going to do these things but I really didn’t have a reason to do it to put me into action.  And, I have to say that the thing that I thought would be happening during the disaster as I actually noticed that I thought that other people would take care of me.  And, then I actually thought that the guys will take care of me.  You know, there are guys out there, they’re you know hunter, you know well, I’m from Wisconsin that’s why hunters were there, you know, there is a camper type, they have got all the stuff, they know exactly where it is and they have got ample supplies.  I have got a great personality and I can just show up and you know, I will do the psychology love, hug, support, go team go and I’ll be fine.  People would share their stuff with me and I got to tell you that that was a really, really kind of scary awakening to realize that might remained in where his stuff was either and also we -- I realized that we weren’t really together.  It wasn’t really a team effort that it was people who were prepared stuff together and at some point there was a decision that needed to be made around boundaries and my concern and what I’m going to pass it over to André is how this actually been a very severe and serious event that cut down food supply or gasoline in a longer way.  I won’t have been prepared.  And I would have been expecting other people to lead the way and I don’t that they would able to make the choice but there wasn’t necessarily a place where I was contributing.  So, what I would like to do before we wrap the show today is have André inspire you to take action right now.  And the first way that you can do that is go to PostPeakLiving.com, André has a free un-crash course, it’s a six-week course and you just sign up and you’ll get information in your email box.  So that it stays in your mind after you have listened to this episode.  So, you can actually gain into action.  And after you have done that then you can either you know, re-listened to this episode or playback these last few minutes that André is going to wrap us up with and know that this is the time to get into action because you never know when a disaster can happen.  So, André I’m tossing it over to you, I’m so grateful for your help today and for all the love and support and education that you are sharing with me and all the people in your life.  So, thank you for that.

André Angelantoni: Oh, you are welcome.  It’s absolutely my pleasure Meredith and I think that one of the easiest things that people can do is to start taking that course because the very first email that you are going to get, which will arrive seconds after you sign up for it.  We will talk about creating a disaster preparation kit and that is absolutely the first place that everyone should start.  The chain of California having an earthquake greater than 6.7 in the next 20 years is about two-third that’s according to the US geologic survey and really it could be any .0 magnitude earthquake something that can level whole cities.  So, between that and the force fires -- the number of force fires and the possibility of floods and so on, the chances are that each one of us are going to have to rely on yourself in a way we never had to.  And I was talking to you, Meredith on the break and I think the biggest thing here is that people just have to make the call for themselves that they are going to be responsible themselves and that they are going to be able to take care of themselves and their loved ones in one of these emergencies.  Once they make that decision there is a infinite number of amount of information on the web that will support them in doing that but it starts with making that call that they are not going to be the ones hungry, cold, wet and without any money when an emergency along.  If those are the crimes or consequences that may not happen to you but you don’t have any right to have it be any other way unless you prepare for it because when FEMA gets stretched they only have so many resources, they can’t always arrive in time.  There is no guarantee that there is going to be a helping hand for you.  Your neighbors will probably do what they can but they don’t have enough food for another family entirely, maybe for another meal but that’s really about it.  So, you really do have to look at what is that you can do to be responsible for this sort of stuff.

Meredith Medland: Thank you for that.  And I just want to wrap it with the last piece and that’s the piece that you have already taken, which is really being a service to your community and that we can bring that down to our family and to friends and so you know, if I had a whole another hour to interview you know, and talk more.  I’d want to do a show all about what it means to be prepared and to be a service to your community and get others prepared.  So that really we can all be independent but also come together as a whole you know preparation so that we can really focus on getting through all these things together.  So, perhaps we will bring you back again after I’m all prepared and into that next stage.

André Angelantoni: I -- I would love to come back and I just want to add one more thing and that is that.

Meredith Medland: Please.

André Angelantoni: It -- sometimes people think that it’s the right thing to do is to get their whole community prepared.  And that’s for some reason they feel guilty or that it’s the wrong sort of idea that they should personally get prepared.  And I don’t see that point of view because if people are personally prepared, it actually makes it easier for everyone.  It makes it easier for the authorities that can come in to help.  If there are only three families that need help instead of four on the street or maybe two families instead of ten on the street that need help.  If the other eight are prepared it makes a world difference.  And it means then that you are going to be in position to help other people.  So, if there is anything in a way for you getting ready like that I urges you just let it go and just start going online, type an earthquake kit or disaster prep kit and start stocking up.  that actually can be a lot of fun building those kits up.

Meredith Medland: Awesome.  Thank you so much and I got say that on the research that I did in preparation for our last show was just going to PostPeakLiving.com, your site, your businesses, is that you have done a great job of aggregating everything.  So, thank you so much for that and ---

André Angelantoni: Hey, thank you.

Meredith Medland: --- listeners, I really encourage you to take advantage of that six-week program and the last thing that I want to wrap up with before we go is something that you started when we first spoke.  This is almost maybe a year ago, we talked about disaster and Post Peak Living and it is a little scare for me then because it had sort of this like conspiracy edge to it not so much natural fire.

André Angelantoni: Um-hmm.

Meredith Medland: And the thing that calmed me down and just kind of let me set that aside is a conversation that we had about making an investment and would you just share an answer to you on -- on the frame, kind of putting this all into a frame about investment?

André Angelantoni: You are talking about an investment in near future, yes?

Meredith Medland: Of course yes, I am.

André Angelantoni: OK.  OK.  Well, the people can -- this is now moving more into the context of as we have more and more energy problems, we have -- we have economy problems right now because the economy is tanking and people think it’s the financial crisis and it is that.  But they forget that oil prices kept going up and up until the economy broke eventually we reached to $147.00.  So we are going to have those kinds of rises and then breaks and rises and breaks in oil price all the way down as oil starts to deplete.  So, what we are -- we are entering into a whole new world, something like what I tell people is we are going to be living something like in the 1850s.  So people can spend time now to decide for themselves what kind of role that they are going to take in the future.  Are they going to invest in the kinds of skills they are going to be immediately useful to their community around them.  So that as energy depletes, they are confident enough themselves, they are self-sufficient and they are contributing number to society because the alternative to that is that as we deal with climate change and peak oil all at the same time that people are going to be lost and it’s no way to live a life and the alternative of course is that you can be fulfilled and self-expressed as you are building your community and redesigning it.  I encourage people to look at something called “The Transition Towns Movement”, just type in Transition Towns in Google.  These are towns all over the world that are getting ready for energy depletion and if there isn’t one in your area, start one up.

Meredith Medland: Awesome.

André Angelantoni: You will really love it.

Meredith Medland: All right, cool.  All right André, thank you so much, it’s PostPeakLiving.com.  I’m Meredith Medland I’m your host of Living Green.  I give you some URLs again.  You can go to LivingGreenStory.com or you are welcome to email me personally at Connect@MeredithMedland.com.  You can reach me on Facebook at Meredith Medland or Twitter at Meredith Medland, I’m totally accessible.  I live feedback, I love ideas for stories, I love your opinions.  So, keep on coming.  Thank you so much for all of that and -- and the last thing I want to say before we go today is that the most miraculous moment of the whole fire -- tea fire experience for me was when the power went out and the radio went out and my roommate left for a little bit and I picked up my guitar and I started strumming and one of the things that I do in my private time is a kind of extemporaneous singing prayers and that’s my relationship with God and the peace that I was able to bring to myself that actually propelled me into action and keeping a fairly calm and steady pace through the disaster experience is really what enabled me to stay clear to have mental clarity.  So, if you wanted those people -- people that likes to access the prayer and mediation that’s the -- that’s the last piece to whole thing that we can be prepared but we can also do that through meditation.  So, thank you so much for listening the Living Green, I’m your host Meredith Medland.  Remember if you want to read a transcript of the show -- the written context of the show, you can get that on the web as well or you can also visit other shows at PersonalLifeMedia.com.  Thanks so much and I’ll see you next time around.

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