I’ll never forget the night we had to evacuate our home in mere moments. Some very strong chemicals had been used in a home renovation project and threatened to overwhelm us. My husband became dangerously lightheaded, our kids were quite young, and we knew we had to get out of the house ASAP.
At that time, I didn’t have any type of emergency kits packed and it hadn’t occurred to me to make evacuation plans.
On a second occasion, I had literally 5 minutes to get out. At that time, and I’ll never forget it, I was wearing old, faded yoga pants, a black t-shirt covered with cat hair, and was barefoot. My kids were as ill-prepared as I to leave our house and we all laughed at our appearances, but this time, I had a pair of shoes in the car, along with a well-stocked vehicle emergency kit, a very detailed road atlas, and cash in my purse. We were prepared to evacuate quickly and, just as importantly, ready to be away from home for hours or even days.
Make evacuation plans today!
A good evacuation plan consists of 6 parts:
1. Tracking up to date, accurate information
2. Pre-packed emergency kits
3. Multiple, planned routes
4. Transportation, equipped with emergency supplies
6. A mindset quick to adapt to new information, accept it, and react appropriately
The problem with evacuations is that most of them happen suddenly and without any warning. In a moment, your house is on fire or the ground is shaking or tornado sirens are blaring. You have, literally, moments to respond and your response, whatever it is, could make the difference between life and death for you and your family.
That’s how important it is to have your evacuation ducks in a row.
To get you started, here are a few articles from this blog as well as others I’ve found online that are particularly helpful. Be watching later this month to learn the difference between Urgent and Planned evacuations, the best map resource you can buy, and checklists for your emergency kits.
- An Evacuation Dilemma: Can You Help?
- Evacuation Time? Don’t Forget Your Pets!
- My Story: Lessons we learned from hurricane evacuations
- Organize Your Emergency Evacuation in 5 Steps
- Packing Your Pet’s Evacuation Kit
- Six Maps You Need for an Urban Evacuation
- The King Fire Chronicles: Life on the Edge of a Natural Disaster
Use these checklists to help make evacuation plans
- Grab-n-Go Binder — Place copies or originals of your vital documents here, ready to grab at a moment’s notice.
- Emergency Exits — Guidelines for planning your routes
- The Everyday Emergency Kit — Content suggestions for your Bug Out Bag
- Last Minute Packing List
- Pet Emergency Kit Checklist
- Vehicle Emergency Kit Checklist
My book, Survival Mom, contains an entire chapter to help you get ready for evacuations. Click here to learn more.