Evacuate – Are you ready?
The knock comes at your front door. A fireman tells you that you have 20 minutes to evacuate. The wild fire has been burning for several hours now and is headed your way. Panic sets in. What should you take with you?
Fires, floods, hurricanes, the list goes on. At a moments notice you may have to leave your home and everything in it that you own and hold dear. Do you know what you will take with you in the minutes that you have?
You may be thinking, “…well, I know what to do, I know what to take.” Do you? None of us know if panic will set in during an intense time of stress and crisis. Will you be able to think clearly, remembering everything in the limited amount of time before evacuating your home? What if you’re not home? What if the only one at home is your spouse, who, lets say, is not a survivalist, or perhaps just your children?
Disaster Preparedness Binder contains detailed instructions, actions, and information
If you have everything written down, and kept in a known location, things will go smoother. I prefer the idea of a binder because editing, making changes, and adding pages is easier.
The more detailed you can be in your binder, the better preparedness for everyone involved.
For example, if the gas to the house ever needed to be turned off, pictures as well as step by step instructions would be the best – especially if you are concerned that your kids or others may be at home by themselves and have to deal with it. I would insert a picture of the valve itself, along with the proper tool to use (Having the right tool is very important – gas valves are hard to turn – leave the tool in a known location so you don’t have to scramble looking for it).
Some things to put in your binder would be:
- How to turn off the gas to your house.
- How to turn off the water to your house.
- How to turn off the electricity
- A list of items to take with you
- A list of contact information including:
Family and friends
Insurance companies (home, auto)
Hotel information (pre-planned evacuation stay)
Your bank, financial institutions
The list of contact information and emergency phone numbers should include a pre-determined hotel destination (keep several destination scenarios). It should also include your home and vehicle insurance company, your financial institutions, and of course, family and friends.
If you think about it, you may surprise yourself how we rely on all of our phone numbers being stored and at the ready in our cell phone, Blackberry, iPhone, etc… all electronically. Not too many people have a written record of all this data anymore. In a power down-situation, you will not have access to this information after your batteries have run down.
Do you have a telephone plan in place? In a large scale emergency you may not be able to get through to anyone by phone for several days, or longer. On the chance that you are able to get one call through, who would you call first? Does that person have the list of the others to be informed? The idea is to call one person following a major disaster, say a relative living outside of your regional area. This way, other family members or members of your group would know to call that point-of-contact to get updated information.
An evacuation list – It is imperative to think about and document your list ahead of time. It will help insure that you will take what you consider to be irreplaceable as well as the other things you’ll need for your survival. Some people keep a ‘bug-out-bag’ at the ready. If you already have a 72-hour kit in your vehicle (which you should), then your short term food and water needs will be met and you can concentrate on any other items that you want to take with you. Take some time and think about it, write it down, and their locations – so you can quickly go get what you need when the time comes.
The point to all this is to write things down in a disaster preparedness binder. This will accomplish several things. First, it will cause you to think about what you would do in an impending disaster or evacuation. Most people have never even thought about it whatsoever. Second, having written down the process, you will have ready and detailed instructions assuring that you will not forget anything that you have considered important actions.
A disaster preparedness binder will be different for everyone because it requires your own personal thoughts, requirements, and will vary depending on your regional risk factors and the physical aspect of where you live.
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