When it’s quiet at night it’s always spooky to hear the sirens on emergency vehicles echoing through the hills.
We have a hospital a mile away, so usually you hear the ambulances going of in that direction and then stopping. Someone’s having a bad night.
Sometimes you’ll hear police cars on one of the major streets that crisscross the area. If it’s something big, there will be police helicopters. If it’s big and goes on for a while, the police helicopters will be joined by the television station helicopters.
If you see or hear the TV helicopters out there, flip on the news.
When you hear the fire trucks, normally they’re coming from the fire station that’s a mile or so off in the other direction. Generally they’re heading off down one of the major streets as well, maybe to meet up with the police, ambulance, and assorted helicopters for a major freeway accident.
Rarely, you’ll hear the sirens of one sort or another getting closer, then pulling into our neighborhood. Never a good sign, but fortunately rare in these parts. Generally it indicates some sort of medical situation.
The worst is when the Santa Ana winds blow, and it gets hot and dry. The wind can be gusting to 50 or 60 knots, it’s dry as a bone, and into triple digits during the day and only getting down into the 70’s at night. Then you hear the sirens — and pray that it’s an ambulance or police car. If it’s a fire truck, you pray that they head into the city for some sort of traffic accident. If it’s a fire truck and they’re not going into the city, you pray you don’t hear a second, or a third — or a tenth.
If you hear the second or third fire truck heading up into the canyons and hills, check the news. Check the skies for smoke. Double check to make sure you know what your evacuation plan is.
What to you grab if you only have two minutes to get out? Ten minutes? Sixty minutes?
There’s smoke? It looks closer than you like? Maybe it’s time to put at least the first couple of those boxes of vital documents and your bugout bags into the cars and get the cars turned around in the driveway so they’re easy to load and easy to drive straight out.
Tonight it sounded like two ambulances, a police car or two, and at least one fire truck, all heading to either one of the main streets or back to the hospital. No smoke. No news. The winds are calm tonight.
Tomorrow we might not be so fortunate.