Family Evacuation Plan
Disasters happen every day throughout the world with no warning (that’s why they are disastrous!). No one, no matter what their location, is exempt from facing an emergency situation, preparing now will ensure your family is safe later. I happen to be married to a firefighter which means that WHEN a disaster finds its way to Cedar City I will be on my own to get my kids to safety. Because of this I have written out a detailed plan of action reminding me exactly what to do in the case of a large or small disaster.
The first item to understand is knowing what types of situations are possible in your area. Listed below some of the disasters that I feel could possibly affect my family:
· Severe Winter Storm (Causing loss of basic services: water, gas, electricity, telephones, etc.)
· Wildland Fire (Limited evacuation routes, short evacuation times, traffic congestion.)
· Earthquake (Limited Evacuation routes, traffic congestion, fires, gas leaks, personal injuries, limited medical care.)
· Bomb Threat/Terrorist Attack locally OR in Los Angeles or Las Vegas (Uncontrollable Interstate traffic, limited food supply, looting, crime, limited accesses to medical care.)
· Structure Fire (Kids MUST know what to do!!)
· Utility Failure (Extreme heat/cold, lack of clean water, difficult food preparation, limited food supply, etc.)
· Hazardous Materials (More that 400,000 trucks carrying billions of pounds of hazardous materials cross the state of Utah every year. A simple traffic accident could potentially become a disaster for people living in a multiple mile radius.)
· Transportation Failure (Of the things that sustain our lives the most (food, gasoline, medication, etc) almost none are produced within our city limits. If Interstate 15 goes our town will be hungry!)
· Pandemic Influenza (Quarantine’s, high death rates, limited access to medical care, etc.)
· Flooding (Even us desert dwellers can suffer from too much water!)
I am sure there are more disasters that could possibly greet me one day but this is a good list to start with. Those of you who live in a large city will most likely suffer far more than those of us who live in small communities; you must be prepared!
Looking over our list I can categorize each possible emergency into one of two categories. A- The type of problem that requires me to evacuate my home. B- The type of problem that requires me to stay in my home, possibly with few of life’s luxuries. Being prepared in general will help you cope with either type of disaster but in the instance you are able to stay home you will want your emergency preparedness plan to have a large section on food and water storage. This post will focus mainly on your plan to evacuate and leave the protection of your home.
Depending on the situation the amount of time given to vacate the premises will vary. I have written my evacuation check list with items of most importance at the top and least importance at the bottom just in case I don’t have time to make it all the way to the bottom.
Payne Family Evacuation Plan
Time to Evacuate:
| |5 Minutes or less – Gather kids and shoes into the car. Load 72 hour kits. Go to a safe location.
| |5-15 Minutes – Dress all family members in appropriate (durable & comfortable) clothing with good shoes and a jacket. Load 72 hour kits, emergency toilet and kitchen, 2-4 large blankets, extra water.. Turn off water, electricity, and gas.
15 Minutes and up – Start by completing the procedure above, load the children into the car and continue working down the following list until your time has expired.
- Cell phone and car charger
- A Gun and bullets (depending on the situation)
- Food from the refrigerator and pantry (don’t waste too much time, remember you have food in your 72 hr kits!). Consider loading some food storage if you think food will be difficult to find.
- Additional bedding (especially important during the winter)
- Snow boots, winter hats, gloves, and snowsuits (Depending on the season or in anticipation of temperature changes.)
- Large Duffle Bag with extra clothing (include socks, underwear, pj’s, long pants and shirts)
- Tent and Tarp
- Portable Camp stove with Propane
- Small Sauce pan and Frying Pan
- Scrapbooks, journals, important letters/memorabilia, valuables.
Contact extended family members and when possible determine a safe location for everyone to gather together. (If you don’t have extended family close by discuss with close friends/neighbors a way to stick together during an emergency!)
At first glance this may seem like an incomplete list for proper survival preparation (there is no mention of meals, water amounts, important documents, medications, etc.) but remember your 72 hour kits should already contain MOST of what you need. Also keep in mind that this is still considering a rather short evacuation time (15 minutes – 1 hour). If you are given multiple hours or even a day you will have time to consider other useful items.
After writing out an evacuation plan take the time to discuss the plan with your family members and then POST the plan somewhere that is easy to find. I have mine taped to the wall in my storage room above my 72 hour kits. Storing all of the items on the list in close proximity to each other will make the process of loading the car much faster.
We keep all of our camping equipment together and I have all of my scrapbooks in a closet by the back door (my biggest fear in life is losing my scrapbooks in a fire).
Communication and organization are key to proper and successful evacuation. Other things you may want to consider making a habit include:
- Keep your car’s gas tank at least half full.
- Ask your kids school what THEIR procedure is for an emergency.
- Keep a case of water and a blanket in your car.
- Regularly discuss with your children what to do in case evacuation is necessary (kids forget easily).
- Update, renew, and replenish your 72 hour kits and your emergency evacuation plan once a year.