This has been something I had been pondering on and off for the few years we lived here. But given how many false fire alarms there was this past spring and the fact that getting a Cape was becoming a reality, it was something I had to put into place. To boot, Léa or no Léa, although the multiple fire alarms had given us plenty of practice of how to handle evacuating all the pets in case of a real emergency, we were prepared for a two-person evacuation and the reality is that there was also a possibility I would be stuck doing it alone given the Boy is often gone on business trips and that, I couldn't manage with our system.
So it got me thinking - how can we do this better? I could not, as one person, drag every individual carrier, and big carriers they are, downstairs. And with the addition of Léa, our two-person system was no longer going to be good enough since we could only manage what we had then. Finding a solution was actually a big part as to why I said ok to getting Léa - not being able to evacuate all pets wouldn't cut it.
I had a few ideas going through my head but since the Boy was going away for two weeks in the beginning of June, I had to actually make one of these ideas a reality.
And here is what we made - the evacuation duffel bag.
I was basically thinking this would only be used in case of an emergency so there wasn't an absolute need to provide as much space as the cat carriers provided. So I looked at the two "Take me home" carriers I had from early days, the smaller one being Piper's and the bigger one Shade's and thought that using those carriers in case of an emergency would work. As well, I tried putting the Pois in the smaller ones and while it's not ideal, they still were comfortable within it. I liked the idea of keeping the bigger one for Petey, as it would be easier for me to put him in that one than in a smaller one. And to ease transport downstairs, putting these carriers in a duffel bag or something similar that I could sling across my shoulder made sense. So we then had to figure out the configuration of the smaller carriers to figure out what size bag to get. In the end, we got an extra 3 small carriers (for a total of 4) and 1 medium carrier (for a total of 2). We had a few configurations in mind and it all came down to what size bag we could find that would allow all the carriers in it but tight enough that they wouldn't be moving about.
Additionally, the bag itself is made of a material to allow it to breath, but I'm happy that if I need to use it in case of a fire, the outer shell will provide a bit more protection from the smoke to the birds. I love the dual purpose - easy to carry multiple birds at once and extra layer of protection.
In the end, I think this will work well for the purpose it's been designed. However, I really do hope that I will not have to use it for that purpose - ever. But it's nice to know it's there.