National Preparedness Month is drawing to a close and, so far, I’ve blogged about creating your emergency plan, what kinds of emergency supplies to keep in the house and how to pack your go-bag. Now imagine that the order is giving to evacuate: What do you do?
A civil emergency or natural disaster is not an easy time to think clearly, so you’ll have to decide your priorities ahead of time and go from there. Here’s a list to get you started.
- Follow your family emergency plan – Stick to the items you’ve written out ahead of time. Now is not the time to make room for a bunch of toys or other trivial items (although it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have your child’s favorite stuffed animal to comfort them).
- Turn off power and water if instructed by authorities – Obviously, you don’t want a freezer full of rotten food, but know what to do if authorities recommend that you shut things off. Lock all doors and windows before you go.
- Know the approved evacuation routes before you leave home – People ask me what those blue signs are for that say “Evacuation Route.” Well, that’s what they are, and they don’t indicate a particular direction since it may change, depending on the situation.
- Listen to local authorities – They may, for safety reasons, have certain roads closed. Know which routes are flowing and don’t try to get clever and go around road blocks. You might end up stuck.
- Keep your fuel tank full – You’ll never get near a gas station if people are all evacuating.
- Take a single vehicle – Two cars might result in your family getting separated and add a whole new level of stress to an already stressful situation.
- Have a pre-determined meeting place – If your family, by unavoidable circumstance, leaves from separate locations, have a place that is easy to get to, but not so crowded with people that you’ll never find each other.
- Choose friends or relatives you can stay with – If you can, find friends or relatives that are close enough to travel to in a few hours, but far enough from home that they will not likely be affected by the same natural disaster or civil emergency that you’re encountering.
- Keep your phone on – Phone service may or may not work, but you should have your phone available anyway, plus a car charger. If your family ends up in two cars, you may find that FRS or GMRS radios are a reliable way to keep track of each other when in range, although you’ll have to find a channel that isn’t jammed up with chatter.
- Stay aware and focused – Concentrate only on getting to the safety of your designated friends or relatives, be aware of changing or worsening conditions (such as the weather, the congestion or other factors) and keep the radio on to the news or emergency station.
Do you have other evacuation or urban survival tips that relate to your specific area or the type of weather emergency or natural disaster that your area is most likely to be impacted by? Feel free to let me know on the CampingSurvival.com Facebook page. I love getting your feedback, so feel free to chime in.
Be well and stay prepared.