Wildfires, floods, and other imminent hazards can lead local officials to issue evacuation orders. If you live in an area at high risk for any of these events, make sure you are prepared evacuate quickly and smoothly.
Here are the “P’s of Preparedness” to remember in case of an immediate evacuation:
- Papers (important documents)
- Phone numbers
- Prescriptions (medications and glasses)
- Pictures (and other mementos)
- PCs (for the info stored on them)
- Plastic (credit cards, cash)
Let’s talk about each point…
Evacuating your family safely requires planning ahead. Know at least two routes out of your community. Know how to contact each other. Have an emergency kit with food and water. Firewise.org has many publications available to help you get ready for the threat of a fire. Practice evacuation drills and make sure that children know what to do in an emergency. FEMA has great guidelines to help you start your disaster plan and build an emergency preparedness kit.
Be ready to quickly transport your pets and have a plan for where they will stay if you cannot return to your house for a while.
Keep deeds, birth certificates, vehicle titles, and other important documents in one location, and look through your papers frequently to make sure everything is up to date. Being able to grab everything important at once will make the evacuation go much smoother.
Make sure everyone in your family has access to important phone numbers. Try to keep cellphones charged and keep a backup hardcopy of all your phone numbers just in case.
During an evacuation pharmacies and drug stores may be closed or out of the items you need. Keep extra medicine and prescriptions within easy reach as you hurry out the door. Put a special focus on any critical medications such as diabetes medication, asthma inhalers, and EpiPens.
|Pictures and other mementos
Collect items that hold a lot of personal significance. In the unfortunate event that your house is lost or damaged in a fire, at least you won’t lose irreplaceable items, like family photos.
|Personal computers (hard drives)
Computers store a lot of important information and personal items that you’ll want to keep. Be ready to unplug the computer box and take it with you. It also would be a good idea to make a digital copy of family photos, important documents, and business papers that can be downloaded onto an easy-to-carry flash drive or external hard drive.
|Plastic (credit cards and cash)
Keep credit cards on hand and store extra cash and checks with your evacuation kit. You may have to buy food, fill up your gas tank, or stay in a hotel.
Evacuating from your home and your community is stressful. If you have a clear plan for what to do (the Ps of preparation), the process will go easier for you and your family.
IMAGES: Pets designed by Anne Caroline Bittencourt Gonçalves, Document designed by Rob Gill, Cell Phone designed by Marwa Boukarim, Hash designed by Michael Rowe, Medicine designed by Emmanuel Mangatia, Picture designed by Ilias Ismanalijev, Computer designed by Simple Icons, Computer designed by Anton Outkine, Keyboard designed by Herbert Spencer, Credit Cards designed by Alex Auda Samora, Checklist designed by Maico Amorim. All images from thenounproject.com
Visit the Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) Program for more information about wildfire safety and what you can do before a fire strikes to be prepared.