• Galt Joint Union High School District Su­per­in­ten­dent El­iz­a­beth Kauf­man shares story of evac­u­a­tion.

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Front Page -

El­iz­a­beth Kauf­man, Su­per­in­ten­dent of the Galt Joint Union High School District, shares a home in Ful­ton with her chil­dren and their father and their an­i­mals. On Mon­day night at 2:20 a.m., they evac­u­ated when the fire threat­ened their home. They also rent a place in Elk Grove. This is her ac­count:

“We were called at night to go back to our house be­cause the fires were in the area. It was eerie pass­ing through Sears Point with every­thing on fire and eerie see­ing fires in the dis­tance and close by. Around us there are pock­ets, like my best friend’s neigh­bor­hood, where houses are all de­stroyed; yet, driv­ing along the free­way in many places it looks like noth­ing has hap­pened.

We were wor­ried about our an­i­mals and their safety, not as much as our house. When you are driv­ing and see­ing other peo­ple’s houses burn­ing it puts a lot in per­spec­tive. You worry for them and send them your pray­ers. And it be­comes im­por­tant that we were all safe and to­gether.

There’s fire dam­age all over and the (emer­gency alerts) are com­ing up con­stantly. Friends are still be­ing evac­u­ated. Oth­ers are re­turn­ing to their homes. Our power and wa­ter was re­stored last night. The winds are chang­ing again and there are fires all over the place so ev­ery­one is just stay­ing close to home.

We’re all on high alert. Peo­ple are there to help each other. I’m sure many of us have 20/20 hind­sight about emer­gency pre­pared­ness plan­ning and sup­plies that we should have had on hand. We didn’t have flash­lights or ex­tra wa­ter avail­able so had to load horses and dogs us­ing phone flash­lights. Guess that’s a les­son to all of us who get com­pla­cent . ...

My big­gest take­away from this ex­pe­ri­ence — apart from the sense of com­mu­nity with other peo­ple who had evac­u­ated and were as un­cer­tain as we were about the fu­ture — is that very few things in the world mat­ter . ... When we got home and got our dogs and horses loaded and had our three kids packed safely in our trucks with them, I knew we’d be OK no mat­ter what hap­pened. I think so many peo­ple just feel grate­ful for their fam­ily and safety.

Evac­u­at­ing pretty much con­firmed our farm fam­ily iden­tity — all we needed were our two trucks ... and in those we brought our most im­por­tant pos­ses­sions — three kids, four dogs, three horses and five sad­dles. (Al­ways the mom, I made my kids run back and get their rid­ing hel­mets too for ex­tra safety).”

Kauf­man wants to thank the first re­spon­ders. “They truly are life savers and self­less in their acts,” she said.

KAUF­MAN

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