We all need to be prepared to evacuate at any time. Making preparations ahead of time will make things easier during the disaster and will help you get back to your life more quickly afterwards. Do it NOW. Don’t wait!!! Evacuations happen far more frequently than we realize. We think it will never happen to us. So did most folks who have been through an evacuation and the disaster that caused it. Wildfires, floods and hurricanes are all in the national news each year. Transportation and industrial accidents often only make the local news and may involve fewer people – but to those involved the size of the group does not matter. We don’t need to dwell on possibilities or worry needlessly. However, a little planning and preparation in advance is an excellent investment of time and energy — just in case! And for peace of mind!
Before an emergency happens, make several decisions on what you need to do. Fill out the Advance Emergency Plan form — like tonight or this weekend. Take a look at the other checklists, choose what apply to you, decide who will follow through on which advance preparations. The entire discussion should take about fifteen minutes. Within the next two weeks gather all the items on the Go Packet List and follow through on other checklists you decide fit your situation. You may not be able to access information stored online or on your phone. Assume you will not have cellphone service or electricity, so plan for a written record of all contacts you may need. Place all paperwork in zipper plastic bags and store in easily accessible place. Pack any other emergency items in watertight container and store conveniently.
Having to leave home unexpectedly can rattle anyone, even if with a day or two advance warning. However, most disasters offer no time for people to gather even the most basic necessities, a good reason to prepare now. By planning ahead, you will be able to use your time and energy wisely, making things a little easier to handle successfully. If this information helps even one family, it will be well worth it!!
A cellphone can be an invaluable tool. Enable the battery saving mode to conserve power. By all means, have an external power pack for charging available and ready to go. Most will fit easily in a pocket, with an extra in your backpack. Keep an up to date In Case of Emergency (ICE) app on your phone at all times. Both IOS and Android phones have this available in the settings menu. Another app — Medical ID — lets you store important medical information, including prescription medicines, for chronic conditions, such as diabetes. SOS by the American Red Cross and offers basic information on dealing with medical and other emergencies. Zello depends on availability of wifi, but was used extensively during Hurricane Maria as a way of communicating. A flashlight app or the the flash function with your phone camera will provide light in an emergency — just remember it drains a battery fairly quickly. There are scores of other useful apps. Choose NOW which ones you want to use and set them up ASAP.
HOWEVER, IN AN EMERGENCY YOU CANNOT DEPEND ENTIRELY ON A CELLPHONE. They get wet, broken, lose charge, get lost — and always at the most incovenient time. Have a written backup of important contact numbers in your emergency kit, from the list beflow. Other information to take with you can be found below as well.
Checklists to download:
ADVANCE EMERGENCY PLAN Take time to plan ahead of time with your family so that everyone is on the same page and you aren’t wasting valuable time discussing or, worse, arguing what to do and where to go.
GO PACKET CHECK LIST Important information to gather ahead of time that you will need to have to get your life back afterwards and items you will need during the time you are gone
WHAT TO TAKE WITH YOU Reminder of important items such as medications, helpful when your brain is in overdrive
EMERGENCY CHECKLIST FOR PETS Don’t forget these important creatures depend on you!
DURING EVACUATION Reminders of information necessary to prepare your house for evacuation
WHAT TO DO AFTER EVACUATION What you might expect after the disaster
Click on the editable tables below to open in Microsoft Word
EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION – numbers for health, repairs, insurance
FAMILY INFORMATION – numbers and information you may need concerning your family
CONTACTS – numbers of family, friends and others you may need to contact
I’ve lived in Colorado twice and love the mountains, the breathtaking scenery and the endless list of recreational possibilities. We’ve hiked trails, climbed mountains and waded streams–Wheels even panned for gold in some of them. Now some of those beautiful places we enjoyed have been ravaged by fire. Yes, trees may grow back – but it is a loss for years to come. As sad as that may be, even sadder is the loss of so many homes in areas that had never seen a burn before. People left their home, some with very little notice, not knowing whether or not the home would be still standing when they returned. And many found only ashes when they returned. It’s a difficult situation. Plan ahead to be able to cope with whatever comes!
Some of the forms above come from previous posts. Invest a little more time and organize your entire financial life! Check out A Pinch of Joy series on Organizing Your Financial Papers. This method uses the financial papers gathered for income taxes as the basis for several other purposes. Part 1 deals with filing taxes, Part 2 prepares for emergency where someone else needs to handle your affairs, (I.C.E.), Part 3 uses the information to set financial goals and plan ahead while Part 4 helps you build a budget by adding only a little more information. This post is an expansion of Part 5 which introduced the Go Packet.