National Preparedness Month | Day 1 | Creating an Evacuation Plan

In light of National Preparedness Month, we are gearing towards helping you all with ideas on how we all can be preparedness with Daily Tips.  Though we have been posting as best as we can on Twitter and on Facebook Social media pages, we had not been posting here due to time restrictions.  We are now making up for lost time.

So, here we go – starting from Day 1 and such.  This is one of many as you all we should be on Day 6.  Thanks for being so patient while we work to catch up.

PREPLANNING

Why is it important to create an evacuation plan?  Well, you all have seen the major wildfires that have been scorching the lands around us and with that, has come many evacuations.  Some residents did not have warnings long enough to retrieve their belongings, clothing or treasures, having enough time to hop in their vehicles driving away from their homes.  Some only had the clothes on their backs, fleeing for their lives as the fires were like a runaway train heading straight for them.

An evacuation plan incorporates what to do in the event of an emergency such as an earthquake, fire or flood.  Any type of emergency that can happen, you can be prepared for.

Here are some tips in creating an evacuation plan:

KNOW YOUR WAYS OUT

Always have two ways out of your home, business or place you visit/travel/play so you can make your “escape” from the danger that may be lurking out there.

Example

We are going to use your “HOME” as an example for this topic, but keep in mind that this Plan can be applied to your business or places that you may visit frequently.

WILDLAND EVACUATION LEVELS

If you are like some residents, you may live in a remote or area where wildfire may be approaching your community and the Sheriff or Police Department notifies that there is an evacuation.

Level 3:  You are in grave danger and you must evacuate now. This is a mandatory evacuation.  When the Sheriff’s Office or Police Department come to notify you, it is highly recommended that you don’t try to stay back. There is good reason why they are asking you to evacuate.  If you should get into trouble or need assistance, it may be delayed or unavailable.

Level 2:  Prepare to Go.  This is the level when you may be evacuating in the near future because of danger approaching.  If you do not have a Pre-Plan on what to do at this stage, now is a good time to get things together, what you should bring, what your destination may etc.

Level 1:  This is the first level of possibly being evacuated.  It is a notification only that there is danger out in your community that may be fast approaching but you do not need to prepare yet.  However, Pre-Planning for any disaster before one strikes is the best way to being Pro-active instead of Reactive.

If you are evacuating in the wildfire setting, you are most likely going to be at a Level 3 Evacuation.

OBSTACLE FREE EXITS

Look at your home and agree where there are two escapes, example:  a window or through a doorway.  Is it going to be safe if you exit either location?  Are there any obstacles such as rocks, a large drop to the ground below, are there any ladders or any other debris blocking your exit? Think about making a clear path that will allow you and your family to escape safely.

CREATING A SAFE MEETING PLACE

Once, you have established a clear safe path to escape out of your home, decided on a “meeting place” away from the danger, i.e. fire in home.  One example can be to safely evacuate to your neighbors across the street.  This will be the most safest place as the homes to either side would be considered as exposure buildings [a lot of homes are built very closely to neighbors these days] and recommend to not use these homes.  However, some instances could be an exception to the rule if homes are considerably away from each other. Either way, you and your family should meet in “one” spot after your emergency.  This is one to ensure every family member is accounted for and safe together.

“GO KIT”

When you may be forced to leave your home, many will wonder what can I take during a disaster while evacuating?

We recommend to have a “Go Kit” ready to take with you when you leave your home.  Our version of a “Go Kit”, is a portable condensed version of a Disaster Kit that can be picked up at a moment’s notice, taken with you as you evacuate your home.  We will discuss in a later post what a “Go Kit” may look like.

BE PRO-ACTIVE, NOT REACTIVE

Most important thing to remember is to create an Evacuation plan and practice your escape routes at least twice a year – to keep it fresh in your mind and to not panic when you are faced with evacuating your home.  Additionally, this can be applied to your place where you work [check with your company as to what their plan is] and places where you most frequent.

[c] 2015 The NW Fire Blog