Two of the most common reasons to evacuate your home, workplace, or any other safe area are flood and fire. Right now, both are being delivered in spades, and perhaps, your family is being affected by an emergency evacuation.
In the Los Angeles area, nearly 90,000 people are being evacuated due to the Blue Cut wildfire that is virtually out of control, still. Where do 90,000 people go? That’s the first question that crosses my mind. Are they all headed to hotels? The homes of friends or family? How many have nowhere to go and can’t afford even a single night in a hotel?
Louisiana residents have been slammed this month with massive amounts of rainfall. They’ve been forced from their homes, too, and at least 10,000 of them have had no choice but to stay in official shelters. Vehicles, ruined gardens, family heirlooms, brand new school supplies — gone.
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Flood and fire all too often mean a complete loss of everything. Can you imagine losing all the contents of your home? Take a quick scan right now and think, what if I lost all of this? That must be one of the most devastating feelings anyone can experience — to watch as your home fills with water or is consumed by flames.
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At this point, those of us who are safe and sound can help by providing financial assistance directly to organizations that have reputations for managing their money well and quickly getting on the ground to meet the needs of those affected by the disaster.
Organizations like American Red Cross definitely have trained personnel and funding, but sometimes it’s just the little random church or scout group who load up pickups and trailers with cases of bottled water, blankets, baby formula, tents, tarps, and rope, and form a rag-tag caravan to more quickly deliver the goods where they’re needed most. They hit the road using their own debit cards along the way at gas stations and fast food joints, neither expecting nor wanting reimbursement.
That’s the America I know and that I grew up in. We’re there for each other when it’s needed most, and what you look like or what you believe is immaterial.
Here are a few links to organizations that have good reputations for managing their funds wisely and being able to provide the most essential help, quickly:
American Red Cross in Louisiana — Local chapters of American Red Cross are quite good at mobilizing quickly and utilizing local resources.
And what about FEMA and the massive amount of money they have at their disposal? I just heard that FEMA is finally getting to Louisiana to provide help. A day late and a dollar short.
Get out quick when it matters most
Unfortunately, once we donate that $10 or whatever we can afford, there’s not a whole lot more to do except step back and give serious thought to, “What if that happened to us?”
Could you and everyone in your home, pets included, get out fast when it matters most? Have you thought ahead to where you would go and do you have some funds set aside to pay for that hotel room or those meals at Subway? You must take your pets with you — please don’t even consider leaving them to their lonely and fearful fate. It’s easy enough to put together a pet emergency kit, like the one detailed in this article. Even a couple of large ziplocs loaded with dry dog or cat food and a plastic bowl for water is better than nothing.
When I wrote my latest book, Emergency Evacuation: Get Out Fast When It Matters Most, these are the scenarios I had in mind. It’s a quick read. Probably won’t take you more than a couple of hours, but I loaded it up with the kind of help, advice, and tools that I would want if my family ever had to vamoose out of our home. I also knew that my readers would have pets, babies, toddlers, and even handicapped loved ones to consider — so I made sure to include advice for those special situations as well. Get it in Kindle if you want to start reading and preparing and don’t want to wait for the paperback to arrive.
Probably the most important thing you can do right now is to make plans to evacuate. This isn’t a time for perfection. Man, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen into the trap of not taking care of something important because I had this idea in my head of how it should be and I didn’t have the money, the time, whatever to do it perfectly. Fill those ziplocs with pet food. Buy a cheap case of water bottles and have it near the back door ready to grab. Go through your drawers and closets and put together an outfit or two for each person and put them in The Evacuation Suitcase, The Evacuation Bucket, or whatever else you have handy.
This isn’t time for coordinated outfits or dithering over which suitcase to use. Just get ready! You can always go back and make improvements, but if you ever have to get out fast, you may not have time to do any of this. That’s how urgently some of these emergencies occur.
I hope I’ve given you a huge nudge to put basic plans in place. I hope you, me, none of us ever have to experience the terror and bewilderment of an emergency evacuation, but if we do, the plans and supplies that are in place will make it less traumatic.
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