AbleToTrain by Willing & Able

Five steps to developing an effective evacuation plan

Preparedness for disasters will keep you and your family safe and secure

You may only have minutes to assemble your family and get out of your house—possibly for good—in the case of a sudden, catastrophic disaster. Which one would you choose? What would you do if you had unlimited travel options? Preparing for the worst can help lessen the effect of a disaster and possibly save lives. This five-step strategy will assist you and your family in achieving safety.

Some of this information may also be found in the Know Your Plan app from the I.I.I. Preparedness information, useful checklists (including ones you can customise), and evacuation planning advice for a range of calamities may be found there. It’s an excellent tool for getting you and your family—including pets—organized and ready to respond more swiftly in the event of an emergency.

For your evacuation preparations, consider the following:

Plan ahead of time for your evacuation

Don’t wait until the last minute to organize your escape.

  • Make a plan for where you will go in the event of a calamity. Try to have many options: a friend’s or family member’s house in another town, a motel, or a shelter. Make a plan for your primary and backup evacuation routes in case roads become blocked or inaccessible. If GPS satellite communications go down or your gadgets run out of battery, try to keep a physical map of the region on hand.

  • Make a plan to meet at a specific area if your family members become separated before or during the evacuation. Make the meeting place precise, such as “meet at the large clock in the center of town square” rather than “meet at town square.” Request that an out-of-town friend or family member serve as a point of contact for your family.

  • All evacuation plans, as well as important locations and phone numbers, should be written down and distributed to each family member. Please keep in mind that many home printer inks are NOT waterproof, therefore take the necessary steps to guarantee legibility.

Make a list of everything you’ll need

Many families keep a “go bag” with some of these essential things on hand. In the event of an evacuation, consider bringing the following items with you.

  • Prescriptions and other medicines.

  • First aid kit.

  • Bottled water.

  • Flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries.

  • Clothing and bedding (sleeping bags, pillows).

  • Infants, the elderly, and disabled family members require special equipment.

  • “Comfort products,” such as children’s unique toys.

  • Computer hard drive and laptop.

  • Cherished photographs.

  • Pet food and other pet supplies (litter boxes, leashes).

Make a list of everything you own

If you need to apply for disaster relief, creating a home inventory and keeping it on hand will be beneficial. In addition, it will:

Ascertain that you have enough insurance to replace your personal belongings.

If required, expedite the insurance claim process.

For income tax reasons, prove any losses.

Collect essential documents

Keep the following vital documents in a secure location where you can readily retrieve them and take them with you if you are evacuated. While you’ll need an original for the majority of them, it’s also a good idea to create digital copies and save them on a thumb drive:

  • Prescriptions;

  • Birth and marriage certificates;

  • Passports;

  • Drivers license or personal identification;

  • Social Security cards;

  • Homeowners, auto, life, and other insurance coverage;

  • Recent tax returns;

  • Employment information;

  • Wills and deeds;

  • Stocks, bonds and other negotiable certificates;

  • Bank, savings, and retirement account numbers, as well as recent tax returns, are examples of financial data;

  • Home inventory.

Challenge yourself to a 10-minute evacuation

Do a real-time test to check that you and your family are completely prepared in the event of an emergency evacuation. Allow only 10 minutes to get your family and possessions into the car and start on the road to safety. If you plan ahead and rehearse, you should be able to assemble your family and pets, as well as the most important items they’ll need, calmly and efficiently, with the least amount of stress and confusion.