Does Your Family Have an Evacuation Plan? How to Get Started
No one ever wants to think about the possibility of having to evacuate from their home, but in the face of a civil or natural disaster, it sometimes becomes necessary. Having an evacuation plan in place can help keep you and your family safe no matter what happens. If you don’t already have your evacuation plan set up, here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Know Your Local Evacuation Routes
Your first step should be to learn your local evacuation routes. Even if your city or town doesn’t face natural disasters regularly, chances are good they have a set evacuation route on the books. If you’ve lived or visited somewhere like Florida that frequently experiences hurricanes, you’ve probably seen evacuation route signs on the sides of highways.
If you can’t find any information about your city’s evacuation route, start planning your own. Look up the best routes in and out of the city and plan accordingly. Take into account which roads might be affected by the disaster and which will likely be clogged with other evacuees.
At this time, you also want to set up a rally point. Make it somewhere you and your family members know about and where you’ll know to meet up if you get separated and communication is impossible. This could be a restaurant you like, a trail marker or a rest stop off a specific exit. Just have a place that you all know to go in case you’re unable to communicate with each other.
The next step is to have all of your supplies prepped and ready to go well before you need to evacuate. Having food and water supplies at home is ideal, but you may not be able to move or carry all of them if you have to evacuate quickly or on short notice. For an evacuation kit, you will need:
· Food: At least three days’ worth of non-perishable foods for each person in your family.
· Water: At least a three-day supply of water. Each person needs an average of one gallon of water each day.
· First aid kit: Be sure to include any prescription medication and children’s meds if you have children traveling with you.
· Radio: Keep track of changing conditions with a battery or crank-powered radio.
· Phone chargers: If you’re evacuating, keep car chargers with you or in your car at all times.
· Cash: If power is out or infrastructure is failing, you may not be able to use debit or credit cards or ATMs. Keep cash on your person at all times.
· Important documents: Keep your documents easily accessible so they can easily be grabbed as you evacuate. Or, keep copies of all your important documents in your emergency kit.
If you are traveling with pets, you will need supplies for them as well.
Know Your Emergencies
Take the time to learn about the emergencies you might face in your area that could require evacuation.
Whatever type of storm you’re expecting, it’s worth your while to know the difference between a “watch” and a “warning” — but to prepare yourself for the worst in both cases. A warning means a disaster is possible — but a warning means it might already be too late to prepare.