Prepare Every Needful Thing

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"

Emergency and Disaster Response–October 2015

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Evacuation Plans—Part Two: The 1-Hour Plan—section C


We complete our preparations for the 1-hour evacuation plan this month.  To-do items are in bold:

Create a plan/checklist called “Secure Home”.  Learn how to do these things and purchase tools as needed.  Place a copy of list inside your empty “Additional Wealth” box and in your Evacuation Plans binder.  Your list may include:

  1. Turn off gas and unneeded breakers.
  2. Turn refrigerator to high—keeps food cold longer.
  3. Turn off water heater.
  4. Take steps to prevent pipes freezing if weather dictates: adjust thermostat, turn on taps, or turn off water heater and drain pipes.
  5. Flush toilets and take out trash.
  6. Lock windows & doors including garage.  Double check!
  7. Create “Evacuated” signs for main and secondary entrances.  Without a sign, emergency personnel will use any means to rescue potential survivors.  Write legibly on a full sheet of paper “Everyone Evacuated. Nobody Home Here”, or the like.  If you wish, you may also include info such as a phone number where you can be reached or your destination address.  Secure in a Ziploc bag or otherwise waterproof and secure to your door(s).  Store sign and tape inside empty “Additional Wealth” box.

Now you are ready to print up your complete 1-hour Evacuation Plan.  Keep a copy in your purse, tape one inside a kitchen or office cabinet and keep one in your evacuation plans binder.  Sample plan below:

  1. Sound the alarm.  Such as “Wildfire approaching! Come to the kitchen for instructions!”
  2. Communicate.  Begin with a family prayer.  Make sure children know what the plan is, and what is expected of them.  “We are leaving for Aunt Martha’s in 60 minutes.  Complete A, B and C and then go sit in the car.”  Adults can divide up the rest of the list.  Also, contact your destination if possible, let them know you are coming, make a reservation, etc.
  3. Arrange to collect or meet up with family members who are not onsite.  If they will not return home, assign someone to fill their box according to their list.
  4. Prepare the vehicle.  Check fluids, tires, fuel.  Do a quick clean of interior and windows.  Adjust seating.  If applicable, hook up trailer or attach external carriers. Secure additional gas cans outside the body of the vehicle.
  5. Place 72-hour kits in vehicle.
  6. Place box of Important Documents in vehicle.
  7. Place box of Family Records in vehicle.
  8. Collect “Additional Wealth” on box list.  Place filled box in vehicle.
  9. Everyone fills their personal box with the items on their list and places box in vehicle.
  10. If there is time and space, collect additional “comfort items”, such as personal pillows, blankets and airbeds.
  11. Children take seats and buckle up.  An older child or adult stays with children.
  12. Go through your “Secure Home” checklist.
  13. Securely tape your “Evacuated” signs to your doors.
  14. Get into your car, say another family prayer and drive to your destination.


(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.)


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