Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Emergency evacuation preparation

I know, I'm totally guilty of blog neglect--but I intend to start making up for that now.... Thanks for coming back to read!

I think that I have mentioned before that I am on the rather extensive e-mail list of an emergency preparedness expert down in Utah. Those of you who may also be on said list may find the following information familiar, but with permission and slight modification (names, offers specific to the area, etc.), I am posting the e-mail here for more to see, since I think it contains great information for preparing for emergency evacuations:

"I have had many questions about what should be on the 5, 15 and 30 minute evacuation lists. The following are my lists. Yours will be different and the priority will vary, sometimes extremely, depending on your family situation. There are only three adults for us to evacuate but I have some suggestions for families with children below.

5 minute list:

A) Grab 72 hour kits for each of us and stuff meds in refrigerator in top along with billfold and purse so we have credit cards, cash and checks.

B) Run to basement and get zipped 3 ring binder with copies of important papers, and memory sticks and disks with pictures on them, plus the bucket of instant meals that sits next to fire safe. {It would be wiser for us to put all of the ring binder things on a memory stick and put that in the 72 hour kits, eliminating the trip to the basement. I just haven't taken time to scan it all yet. That is going to the top of my list of "things to do"}

C) One of us take down pictures of great grandparents while other one pulls quilt and pillows from bed to wrap them...I love my pillow and want that with me anyway! [You may have jewelry, photography equipment, collections or other sentimental or valuable things, and hunters will want their weapons ]

D) Grab laptop, Ipad and current tax record file folders from office drawer.

E) Get in car and truck and leave to pick up W's mother at the assisted living center.

If I had young children at home I would grab their 72 hour kits and strap them with their favorite blanket or toy in their car seats first so I would know they were safe and couldn't go missing. Then I would pack what I could in the order on my list in the time left. It may take 3 minutes just to get every little one buckled in. With older children they need their own lists posted on closet doors or back of bedroom or bathrooom doors where they can find it immediately. They will have hair dryers, video games, etc that are necessities to them. They MUST understand that they ABSOLUTELY MUST be in the vehicle in 4 minutes max so you don't have to worry about looking for or waiting for them! It would pay to practice this to see just what you can do in 5 minutes even if takes a half hour to put back everything you tried to pack! :) Practice yelling Go! Go! Go!!!

15 minute list:

Do first 5 minute things as fast as we can except for (E)

F) Pack first aid and home remedy things ( see lists on inside of doors under main and guest bathroom sinks)

G) Grab journals and boxes of unscanned photos on bottom basement shelves ( see list on shelf at bottom of stairs. Empty bins are next to fire safe )

H) Stuff more clothes and bedding in back of car ( see list on closet door )

I) Toss cases of water and camping and cooking things in back of truck along with garbage can on wheels full of the "175 hour kit" ( see check list on wall by garage door)

E) Get in car and truck and leave to get W's mother at the assisted living center.

30 minute list:

We are still working on this. I am making lists for pantry and closet doors. I think this will depend on the situation for priority order. If it is an "evacuate for a couple of weeks and come back" the priority will be different ( food storage can stay put) than "evacuate and you probably won't be back and your house won't be here either". Or "the looters will steal or destroy everything you leave." Or whatever scary emergency you might have in your community. Food storage is a valuable investment and I would want to take what I could of the most expensive and light weight things... freeze- dried stuff, if at all possible, for an example. If you have expensive tools that might be your prioity.

We have to plan to pick up W's mom at the assisted living home if conditions require it, so possibly we won't even have this full 30 minutes. We may have only 5 extra added on to the 15 minute deadline. Almost too much to think about and decide on now. Imagine how much more overwhelming it would be if we haven't even considered what to do before "IT" happens. It is no wonder that many people lose everything because they cannot begin to decide what to do, so they do nothing but leave.

If you do not have a 72 hour kit for every family member now is the time to get one. You really don't have time to pack everything you need in 5 minutes. First look around your home for old backpacks or diaper bags to carry your things. Basically tho it is what you will need to survive at least the minimum 72 hours it will probably take for the churches, the Red Cross or others to get to you if the emergency includes thousands of people. Think Katrina or an earthquake. For smaller emergencies like the Herriman fire help will arrive right away. Even then it is nice to feel you have some control over your own well-being. "

Thank you, preparedness expert from Utah! I need to update my 72-hour kits, and make out my own lists for the different time limits for evacuation. Yeah, a lot to do, but a lot easier when I have (I hope!) a lot more time than 5, 15, or 30 minutes to do it in....