Friday, September 4, 2009

Emergency Evacuation Planning.

Time: 1 hour

Cost: $0-$4 (I might suggest the purchase of a city map)

I was thinking about Emergency Evacuation Planning just yesterday while we met my husband for lunch. We often picnic in one of our "meeting places" although while there we discussed changing it to another more convenient location. I read this article on and thought it was a great recourse to share with all of you today.

This is another project that will give you a lot of piece of mind but can really be done in as little as one hour.

An emergency evacuation plan has two parts: evacuation from your house, and evacuation from your neighborhood. An evacuation plan for your home is useful not only for disasters, but also for fires or other incidents in your home.

Important points to remember when creating an evacuation plan for your home are:

  • You should have at least two (2) escape routes from each room.
  • You should mark the locations of any escape ladders, or other special equipment (in reviewing this I realize that we still don't have ladders for the upstairs bedrooms so I went and found these here.)
  • You should mark the locations of fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, first aid kits, disaster 72 hour kit.
  • You should mark the locations of the shutoffs for gas, water, and electricity.
  • For people with medical conditions or disabilities, mark their location as well as the location of any special equipment they will immediately need.

Emergency Evacuation Inventory

If you have to evacuate your house, you may have as little as 10 minutes. Under these circumstances, trying to think of what to save is very difficult. Take some time now to think about what items you would try to take with you.Write down a list of the high priority items you would take if you only had 10 minutes to evacuate your house. Remember, you may have to carry everything. It would also be useful to store these items in the same place. For example my binder of important documents from this post is stored next to our hard drive for our computer. These would likely be the items I would grab 1st.

Evacuation Steps

If you have time during an evacuation, you may want to take steps to secure your house. Give some thought to what things you need to do to secure your house. Write down your plans and keep the paper in a safe and accessible location.

Household Emergency Evacuation Plan

  • Draw your building’s floorplan, then draw your evacuation routes and a meeting place.
  • Make one drawing for each story of the building. Keep in a safe place and review often with your family.
  • Have maps ready for the following:
  • Closest evacuation centers.
  • Main and Alternative routes for leaving the city in North, South, East and West directions.
  • Meetup spots outside the affected areas. (We live near several dams, and need locations that would not be affected if one should break in an earthquake)

Choosing An Out-of-Area Contact:

During an emergency local phone service may be limited, so you should arrange with someone outside your area to be your family contact.

Your contact person should have voice mail or an answering machine.

Ensure that every family member knows that they should listen to the radio or TV for telephone use instructions, then phone your out-of-area contact person to say how and where they are and what their plans are.

Keep calls short, and if possible, arrange to call the contact person back at a specified time for another check-in.

Choosing A Place to Meet:

At the time of an emergency, your family may not be together. It is important to choose family meeting places.

Remember that bridges may be out and roads may be blocked by debris, so choose your meeting places carefully with access in mind.

Pick places that are easy to identify, that can be reached on foot if necessary, and that are in an accessible, open area. (although we open two cars, I also consider our bike with trailer for the kids a great option for alternative transportation)

Take into account where each of you will likely be at different times and on different days.

The emergency evacuation plan for your neighborhood can be handy in a large disaster. By plotting out potential routes on a city map before the disaster, you will save yourself from having to figure something out while in a hurry.

Things to think about when crafting your neighborhood evacuation plan include:

You should plan two (2) routes for each direction. (North, South, East, West.)

You should avoid routes with obvious hazards, or routes which are likely to be impassible in a disaster. (You probably will want to drive the routes before deciding.) And avoid common routes that may be congested during an emergency. (this is a real challenge for us since we live near two busy highways that are congested just during the normal day.)

Establish plans with other family members for meeting up outside of the evacuated area. Make sure each member knows the location of the established meeting points. (I think it is also smart to make these places somewhere that might have supplies, phones, shelter -like the home of a friend or relative, or even a grocery store that is open 24 if that is all that is available)

You should have a phone list of 3 contacts, outside of your area. Each family member should carry a personal copy of this list. In an emergency, communications may be down in your area. Family members can contact the persons out of the emergency area to pass along messages and to check on the welfare of other family members. (cell phones do make it easy to carry all numbers with you, but I would say it is safer just to memorize a few numbers since you may not have your cell phone, or it may lose it's charge during an emergency)

Be sure that each family member has a copy of the evacuation plan, maps and telephone numbers.

You should also allow for an evacuation scenario, while at work, school etc.

Keep your emergency evacuation plans in a safe location with your 72 hour kit.

This article was published here:

If you are anything like me now you just can't wait to get out your graph paper and red marker to start planning.

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