Sunday, May 5, 2013

Evacuation Checklist

Be prepared and proactive when it comes to possible disasters or emergencies in your area. DO NOT EXPECT CITY, COUNTY OR OTHER EMERGENCY SERVICES TO BE AVAILABLE IN THE EVENT OF A MAJOR DISASTER. Have an evacuation route in mind before something happens, and take into account possible congested routes and other back roads that may be more accessible. Keep in mind, however, that you need to listen to all instructions given by local authorities in the event of an impending emergency, such as a hurricane. If you receive the order to evacuate, or are in an area of “voluntary evacuation,” LEAVE. Don’t stick around to be involved in or add to the chaos that could result. Also, before an emergency happens, establish an out-of-state emergency contact and make sure the contact information is in each of your family’s emergency kits. Long-distance phone service is generally back up before local phone service after a disaster, AND CELL SERVICE CANNOT BE RELIED ON, so if your family is separated for any reason, instruct them to call the out-of-state contact to report in. As each family member reports in, your contact can convey that information to you.
While it’s not fun to think about having to leave your home for an extended period of time, it is prudent to have a pre-arranged destination in mind before you get on the road,  (a friend or family member that is far enough away to provide a safe place to stay until things calm down.) Again, set this up now. Have a plan. Shelters and emergency services are instantly overwhelmed in the face of major disasters, so don’t rely on the local shelter if it is at all possible. Remember, there are people who have nowhere else to go. With a little planning, you can be much more comfortable and better taken care of, while leaving those community services available to those who truly have nowhere else, and who truly need them. If you are reading this, you have the opportunity to prepare yourself and your family so that you are not adding to the overwhelming problems that automatically result following major disasters.
These are generic lists, but should help get you thinking about what you would want to do at your house, and gather to take with you in the event of an evacuation. As always, each list should be tailored to your individual needs and circumstances.
Shut main gas line off outside
Shut off all water lines to appliances (water heater, washer, toilets)
Shut off all light switches, unplug appliances & lamps
Shut off all power switches in fuse box
If you are able, shut off water main (the city may have to do this)
Items to Grab in Evacuation (as time allows):
Your Family’s 72-Hour kit
Individual 72-Hour kits
Your Pet’s 72-Hour Kits
Emergency/Preparedness supplies as applicable
Camping Gear, Tent & Tarp, Sleeping Bags, Sleeping Pads
Laptop Computer, cell phones & chargers, external hard-drive back up
Financial, Medical & Family Historical Records
Photo Albums, small family heirlooms, priceless photographs or other irreplaceable items
Photos in frames from around house

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