Do you have an emergency preparedness plan?
You should; it could make all the difference for you and your loved ones. Natural and manmade disasters are by definition chaotic and abnormal. More than a decade on from the worst U.S. weather disaster in living memory, we still have no idea how many actually perished because of Hurricane Katrina.
Don’t become a statistic. Follow these six steps to prepare for an emergency evacuation from your home and stay safe while you’re away.
- Plan for a Range of Scenarios
The American Red Cross offers sensible advice for busy preppers: “Plan for the emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live.”
In California, that means fires and earthquakes. In Louisiana, it means floods and hurricanes. In Oklahoma, it means severe weather and the Security Building Supplies, Lumber and Rebar in Tulsa company provides valuable services.
Preparing for the most likely scenario first is smart, as long as you prepare for a wider range of scenarios later. Manmade disasters such as civil unrest, large-scale terrorist attacks, and airstrikes may seem remote. But their effects are likely to be distributed far more widely, and their aftermath graver and more durable.
According to emergency preparedness experts, true preparedness means anticipating and planning for a complete range of disaster scenarios, including those that seem unlikely at present. The unthinkable can become real in the blink of an eye.
- Create a Detailed Plan of Action for Each Scenario
No two evacuations are alike. Your evacuation experience will change based on:
- The number of people affected
- The extent of the affected area
- Weather and road conditions
- Availability of goods and services outside the immediately affected area
- Ongoing hazards and safety threats, such as civil unrest or ionizing radiation
Bottom line: create a basic evacuation plan, then modify it for each type of emergency you anticipate facing.
- Practice Early and Often
Practice makes perfect. Gather with your family on a regular basis — monthly or every other month works — and review your basic evacuation plan. To the greatest practical extent, act out its key components: organizing your possessions, securing your home, loading your vehicle, following your likely evacuation route, arriving at your designated safe location (a cabin or second home, for instance). Make a day of it: the more comfortable your family is, the more likely it is that the actual evacuation will go smoothly.
- Pack a “Go Bag”
Escape hatch, emergency chute, break glass in case of fire — choose your metaphor. Your “go bag” is a portable, lightweight assemblage of the essential items you’ll need if and when you need to get out of Dodge fast, no matter the reason. Pack wisely.
- Protect Yourself and Your Family
You don’t have to be a “gun person” to grasp the importance of personal protection during a temporary or longer-term breakdown in social order. At minimum, your go bag or evacuation vehicle should have a sidearm, and your safe location (if one exists) should have backup weapons and ammunition.
For more guidance on preparing for an emergency evacuation, visit ready.gov.