Saturday, June 30, 2012

Grab-n-Go Evacuation Preparedness

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We have had quite the fire season here in Utah and there have been several mandatory evacuations.  If you had to immediately leave your home would you be able to grab the most important items and leave??  If I wasn't prepared for that I would probably be running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.  My family has lists hanging on our hall closet door, and we had a family night meeting to practice our grab-n-go lists.  Just like a fire, tornado, or earthquake drill you have to practice.  We timed ourselves and tried to get everything on our list. It was fun but I know that isn't how it will play out in an emergency.  I made a few different lists because we may have 5 minutes, or maybe up to a days notice of an evacuation.  Start with the most basic and important items such as birth certificates, SS cards, purses, computers, pets, etc. and then add the extras if you have more time.  I even let my children add what they wanted to take if we had the time to grab it and added them to the lists.   

You'll see that my lists are not fancy and I hand wrote them onto note cards.  They are divided up into 5 minute, 1 hour, and the third card is if we have longer than 1 hour to grab things.  I also noticed that I need to update my cards because my daughter's hamsters died a few months ago and I need to take them off.  Also my children's ideas of what is important to them change and I need to update that as well.

Everyone's lists will be different, but my list 5 minute list says:
  • Bird and food
  • File Folder Box
  • Laptop
  • 72-hour kits
  • Water under stairs
  • Mom's purse & Dad's planner
  • Cooler with fridge items (milk for toddler and other food)

This is a great video showing 2 different families and how they were prepared, or not, to be evacuated.


 In a stressful situation you will not be thinking clearly at all!  Have a list all written out and know where your most important items are.  We have a file folder box with all of our important papers in it.  We will just grab it and leave.  Also, think about storing your photos on flash drives and store them in the file folder box as well.  It will be too hard to try and save every family photo album, plus they will take up precious space in a car.  Decide now what items will make the lists and who will be in charge of getting them.  There would be no way I could gather everything by myself, so we divided up the duties of who will grab what and in what rooms of the house each of us is in charge of.  


mapofutah.net


Another great tip is to have a map of your area with more than one route out.  Know where the local high schools are, or churches, because that will probably be where you'll be instructed to go.  Keep the map in your car along with your car kit.  


This is also a great time to go over your Family Emergency Plan.  Talk with your family about a meeting place if they are not at home during an evacuation.  How would your husband, or you, get home from work?  Make sure to have an Out Of State Contact (OSC) and let that person know they have been chosen :)  My sister knows that she will be our contact and my children are to call her and let them know if they are ok and where they are located.  During an emergency the local phone lines will be tied up, but calling out of state will give you better chances of getting through.  My sister will be our home base for me to check in and see how everyone is doing.  Giving your OSC a copy of important papers is also a good idea, just in case you aren't home during an evacuation.   

Click HERE to see a very detailed family emergency plan. 

 And click THIS LINK to print off family information cards.


Click HERE to see a great grab and go list from preparedldsfamily.blogspot.com

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