Today, let’s talk about an evacuation plan to have in place if you are asked to leave your home, neighborhood or community. We’ve seen the recent news on Hurricane Harvey, the worst storm and devastation in American history, according to the news reporters. I heard it’s been called a 500-year storm. Here in Southern Utah, we had what they called a 100-year storm a few years ago. I thought at the time it was devastating, and it really was for so many families. I don’t want to compare storms, we have had so many that it seems they are getting stronger and stronger. Of course, we now have more television stations to report and social media brings the pictures of chaos into our lives through our computers and iPhones.
Here’s the deal, I read the book “Five Days at Memorial”, it’s a book written about the Memorial hospital in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I have read the book three times, you may want to as well. A reader recommended the book to me, and I will forever be grateful for the suggestion. I have read the book “One Second After”, it was an okay read, but the book dragged out and the only thing that came out of that read was that cars older than a certain year would be the only ones that would work since they don’t have computers to get damaged. You would still need to have gas in them to run, and many don’t always keep our gas tanks full. I already knew that about car computers and I also was aware that pharmacies, grocery stores, and other retail outlets will empty quickly. Not the best read, in my opinion.
Then, I was interviewed for the Ted Koppel book “Lights Out”. Now that is a book everyone in America should read. Our country is so unprepared to replace the infrastructure of our power grids, it’s appalling to me. He interviewed people working for the government and retired people who had worked with all aspects of our falling apart infrastructure. His team interviewed more people that are in the know than any book I am aware of that has been printed on the subject. And of course, Ted Koppel is a very respected reporter and speaker.
First of all, you may or may not have a choice to evacuate. You may be required to leave by the local government entities, so we must have an evacuation plan if our home and surrounding areas are deemed a dangerous situation. Now, certain situations will make the decision for you, like severe flooding, a nearby hurricane, tornado or an earthquake. Here are my suggestions.
Register your phone(s) with Reverse 911
I live in Washington County (Utah) so I would Google: Washington County, Utah Reverse 911 and click on the first link that comes up on the computer. This will let you know if there is imminent danger coming to your neighborhood via an emergency notification system.
Make an Emergency Contact Card
Everyone in your family should have a contact card to carry on their person or in their back pack. This contact card will have all names, phone numbers, and addresses to get in touch with family members or friends in case of emergencies. Please laminate, if possible.
Emergency ICE in phones
Make sure all family members have an emergency contact person under the initials ICE, this gives emergency responders, etc. to know who to contact if you are unable to communicate. ICE stands for “In Case of Emergency.”
Purchase some maps of your city and surrounding areas. This map can be used to show family members where to meet if a disaster happens without notice. Remember, we may not all be home together when an unforeseen emergency strikes. One family member may be driving a carpool, another at work or another at the grocery store. Talk openly with each family member where to meet. Talk about Plan A, Plan B, and make a Plan C. Hopefully, all family members will be united quickly. It’s critical you discuss and plan your own evacuation plan.
Put together an EDC, an Everyday Carry Bag. This bag is different than a 72-hour kit. Here is a link to my post on my EDC bag. EDC bag by Linda
Please keep your cars at least 3/4 full. I used to suggest 1/2 full, but I’m seeing more and more evacuations in the country so we need to be ready all the time. I will not be in line to purchase gas, I can guarantee you that for sure. I only have one car so that should be feasible.
Be prepared to grab and go with your emergency binder at a moments notice. You can relax, knowing you have all the critical documents you need with you when you must evacuate. Please have small bills in your possession. If we lose power the ATM’s may not work. The banks will be closed if they lose power. This binder content will load and show up on the bottom left-side of your computer:
Food Storage Moms FREE Printable Emergency Binder Download
Post A Document
Please post a document on the back door, the front door or whatever to remind you to grab the items you do not want to leave behind. Keep in mind your house may not withstand a disaster, so just write down items on a paper that are extremely special to you. You may or may not have time to grab them. Have a family meeting and talk about and practice an evacuation plan with items needed to grab and go. These items could be water, food, 72-hour kits, emergency binder, prescriptions, dog food, extra clothing, shoes, etc.
Please check to see what your local schools do in case of an unforeseen emergency or disaster. Ask the school who your children can be released to in case of emergency. You may need to add additional names to the cards on file at the schools your children attend.
Please check with your local city and or county emergency centers to see what plans they have for people who may have to be evacuated. Do they have different locations, supplies, etc? Keep in mind the government cannot take care of everyone. We need to have at least 3-7 days worth of food and water at the very least for our families.
I know I have talked a few times about meeting your neighbors. Please introduce yourselves if you go for walks. If you feel so inclined, I would have a meeting (barbecue, maybe) with those neighbors you feel comfortable talking about disasters before they hit and how you can help one another. Please remember those elderly neighbors and disabled people on your street in your evacuation plan.
Don’t forget our pet needs, we need water and food for them as well. Make a bag if possible with food and water dishes, extra collars, leashed, harnesses, etc. Make sure you have a litter box with strong bags with kitty litter and baggies to use to pick up after all our pets. I’m sure those with larger animals have a harder time to protect their animals that can’t be taken to shelters. Please have medical records for your pet (s) because they may be required to enter some emergency locations. Here is my 72-hour kit pet list that may help you as well. A reader suggested a crate for our beloved pets, a blanket or their favorite toys. Ask your Vet if a tranquilizer would be appropriate for your sweet animals.