Evacuation Plans—Part Two: The 1-Hour Plan—section A
Last month we discussed and prepared for a 60-Second evacuation, such as would be required in the event of a house fire. This month we will begin to prepare for a slower-moving, yet still serious emergency. In the case of an approaching wildfire, predicted serious flooding or hurricane one may have advance warning that will allow one to gather more valuables and better prepare for a safe evacuation. As the preparations are rather involved, we will complete them over the next three months. Here is this month’s list to help you prepare. To-do items are in bold:
- Have a plan. You will need variations on the plan based on daily locations of family members. Have a plan for when parents are at work, and children are at school or extracurricular activities. Decide who will pick up children? Where will you meet if you cannot come home? It is a good idea to have an in-town meeting point (the Library) and an out-of-town point (the Safeway at Exit #5). Where you meet will depend on travel time and the scale of the emergency. Next, select locations where you can stay during the emergency and rebuilding periods. Choose locations North, South, East and West of your home. These could be the homes of friends or family, a cabin, a hotel or even a campground. You will need to consider:
- Distance: plan to be far enough away to be outside the disaster zone, but not so far away that rebuilding your life at home is unnecessarily difficult.
- Suitable for your needs: must accommodate the size, ages, medical needs of your group.
- Safe: you may need to temporarily leave behind property and family members while you work on rebuilding your life at home.
- Emotionally supportive or neutral environment: don’t make a bad situation worse…
- Contact location and consider sending supplies on ahead: ask questions, offer reciprocity, work out as much as you can in advance; some people will feel better knowing that you are planning to provide for your own needs and won’t mind if you keep a couple of boxes in their garage.
- Print up your plan for gathering family members and your list of locations along with contact info and put it into an “Evacuation Plans” binder. As you continue to plan you will create more pages to add to the binder
2. Prepare your vehicle. Know how to check fluids, tire pressure and adjust seating; have supplies on hand for topping up fluids, cleaning windows, inflating/repairing tires. Purchase at least one five gallon gas can and plan how you will secure it on the outside of the vehicle. Assemble these items to keep in your car at all times: quality jack, basic tools and spare tire; tire plugs or other means of dealing with damaged tires; jumper cables; umbrella/raingear; reliable flashlight/headlamp; gloves—both work and cold-weather; baby wipes (remarkably versatile); triangle road markers; fire extinguisher; wd-40 or Break-Free CLP; duct tape; small shovel and piece of old carpet (for getting out of snow/mud); roll of saran wrap (for broken or stuck windows); tow strap rated for your vehicle weight; drinking water. Habits: Refill your gas tank any time it is less than ¾ full, and stay on top of regular maintenance.
(to be continued…)
(I have drawn HEAVILY on the ideas and recommendations of a Hurricane Katrina survivor for the sections on evacuation. Unfortunately, although his website is an absolute wealth of knowledge, his language is very crude and I don’t feel great about linking directly to it. However, wanting to give credit where credit is due, if you would like to visit his site, run a search on “the place with no name Katrina” and it should be your top result.)