September is National Preparedness month and I am super excited to focus on emergency preparedness all month long on the blog.
Last week, I introduced our theme for the month with this blog post —> 3 Home Emergency Plans Your Family Needs To Create.
That post was an overview of everything we are going to discuss for the month.
But today, I want to talk about creating an evacuation plan for your family.
This will help you plan for evacuations due to forest fire, hurricanes or other big emergencies.
Your Family Emergency Evacuation Plan
If you have to leave your home in an emergency evacuation, you need to make a plan of where to go, what to take and how to meet up with other family members.
Having a discussion about these things before hand can make a big difference in the success of the evacuation.
1. Where do we go?
- Have 2 meeting places for an emergency, one outside the home and one outside the neighborhood (in case of emergency when your family is away from home).
- Make notes in your phone or on cards in your wallet to remind you of where these meeting places are.
- If you live in a hurricane area, know your community evacuation plan and practice driving it from your house. Also listen to the local radio for directions at the time of evacuation.
- Plan ahead to go to a family or friend’s home in case of evacuation. Let these people know they are part of your plan so they can prepare as well.
2. What should we take with us?
- 72 Hour kit (click here to see how to put one together)
- Important Personal Documents (click here to learn how to store these items)
- Keep extra gasoline at home to fill your tank before you evacuate
- If you have time, grab other personal items such as computers, scrapbooks, heirlooms, etc.
3. What do I do with my animals?
- Take them with you. If you can take animals with you (especially a dog or cat), do that. If you have a trailer, you might be able to take some livestock as well.
- Move them to a safer location. If you have a barn or building away from harms way, you can put them there with extra food and water.
- Release them. If you can’t take care of them, the most humane thing to do is to release them and let them find their own way to safety.
- Identify them. Use branding or other ways of identification so that you might find them later. Hopefully, when you come back to your home you can find some of your animals that didn’t go too far.
4. How will I communicate with my family?
- Phone. Cell phones may or may not work, depending on the situation. You can buy wind up or solar chargers to keep your phone charged for a longer time.
- Text. Sometimes when a phone call can’t get through, a text can. It takes less bandwidth to send a text than to make a phone call.
- Email. Email is a good way to communicate your plans with others in times of emergency.
- Social media. Making a post on social media lets everyone on your friends list know that you are safe and okay during an emergency situation.
- Landline. While cell phone service may be out, landline phones (if you still have one) may still work, even during a power outage.
7 Evacuation Plan Tips To Help You Stay Calm in a Time of Crisis
1. Involve everyone in making the plan.
- This plan includes everyone in your family, so get them all involved in making it.
- You can have kids draw it out or make a list of items they want to take with them.
- You can allow kids to add a couple of fun items to their 72 hour kits.
- The more fun you make it, the more they will remember it when the time comes to take action.
2. Gather important phone numbers.
I don’t know about you, but ever since I got a cell phone I have been terrible at remembering phone numbers.
Make sure that everyone (including kids) have important phone numbers programmed in their phones.
Also, make a written list to keep with your important documents in case your phone dies and you don’t have access to them anymore.
3. Teach young children vital information in case they get lost.
Young children should know their:
- Full name
- Home address
- Phone number of parents
- Parents’ full names
You can also put this information in their backpacks when they are at school or other activities.
4. Make sure everyone in the family knows where emergency items are stored.
While making your evacuation plan, go thru the house and show everyone in the family where important things are stored.
That way, if only some of the family members are home when an evacuation is called for, they will know what to grab and where it is located.
Important emergency items may include 72 hour kits, important documents, extra cash, first aid kit, etc.
5. Know how to turn off water, gas and electricity in your home.
In an evacuation situation, you may want to turn off your utilities before you leave your house.
All adults and teens should know where these are located in your home and how to turn them off.
This could prevent explosions, flooding or other extra problems while you are gone.
6. Keep your vehicles at least half full of gas at all times.
You’ve seen the stories on the news. Long gas lines are always present during an evacuation situation.
If you have at least half a tank of gas in your vehicles at all times, you will probably be able to drive farther out of harms way than your neighbor before you have to get gas.
This can save you time and money, as gas price gouging is sometimes present during emergency situations.
If you are able to store gasoline to fill your car before you leave (as mentioned above), you would be able to get even farther.
7. Make extra plans for those with disabilities
If you have a family member that needs extra time or medical accommodations, make sure you account for those in your evacuation plan.
- Do you have extra medication on hand?
- Do they need special transportation?
- Do they have extra equipment they need to take such as oxygen tanks, wheel chairs, etc.?
These ideas are great, but they won’t work to keep your family safe unless you follow thru with their answers.
So click on the box below and download the free PDFs that will help you complete your emergency evacuation plan.
Then, once you have it written out, plan a family activity where you can go over the plan and what needs to be done to implement it during an emergency.
If you have an evacuation emergency, you won’t have much time to get these things together. And you don’t want to be fighting people at the grocery store or the gas station for the things your family needs.
So prepare your family now and save yourself time and hassle later. It is worth the effort to keep your family safe in an emergency. You got this!
Here are the links to the other posts in this series for further reading:
Have you experienced an evacuation before? What did you forget to take that you wish you had? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!