Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Do you have evacuation lists ready?

Wow, that was a looooong break. Hope that everyone has had a wonderful summer. Thanks for coming back to read! :)

You may recall that I have never claimed to be an expert on food storage and emergency preparedness. While that remains true, I hope that I am gradually getting better, but I am very fortunate to know some emergency preparedness experts. One in Utah recently sent me an e-mail about some bizarre weather that took place in Utah on Saturday, with some really good questions to ask myself about my level of preparedness should I need to evacuate, or if I were caught in a situation where the weather made my circumstances perilous. This included information on lists that would be extremely important, if not crucial, if you needed to suddenly leave your home--I have heard this idea before, but have not yet followed through, and actually made such lists.

Ah, you gotta hate procrastination.

And you gotta hate it worse if, because of procrastination, your situation is more difficult when an emergency takes place...

So, I asked said expert if I could post a portion of said e-mail, and said expert graciously agreed to let me share it on my blog. Without further ado, the pertinent information:

"Yesterday’s storm was a good wake up call to let us know that a variety of unexpected things can happen in a hurry. A tornado?! Good thing it was a little one!!
Do you have a “bug home” kit in your car???
Saturday night there were several groups of people caught between slides in American Fork Canyon because of the storm. According to the paper there was more than one car that ended up sliding into the river.
If that had been you would you have had emergency blankets, water and snacks for each member of the family? Would there have been a flashlight in the car?

Can you think of what else you may have wanted during the 3-4 hour wait in the rather cool dark to get out of the canyon? If it had been your car that slid into the river would you have had a way to break a window, if it were necessary, to get out?

Is your evacuation list ready? Do you have a plan for a FIVE MINUTE WARNING TO EVACUATE? What will you take if you have 15 minutes? What if they give you a half hour? Does everyone know what to do if you have to leave NOW?
Here are the lists I sent last year after the fire in Herriman, if you need some prompting. My list is not yours but it will give you a starting place. We did practice the 5 minute list for the Alpine fire last year even though we could see we didn’t need to. All of our kids were here for a reunion and the grand kids helped. Then we made cookies so they could feel we weren’t really in danger even though the smoke being so close was scary. It took a while to put everything back!! J
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.}C. did scan things in for us since I originally sent this last year and our kids also have a copy of the important stuff.
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 C.'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 bathroom 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 C.'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 priority.
We have to plan to pick up C.'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. I have some lists with suggestions on what to put in them. 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 Harriman fire help will arrive right away. Even then it is nice to feel you have some control over your own well-being."

Many thanks to the emergency preparedness expert, who shared this information, and the information on September being National Preparedness Month, which I posted earlier today on my other blog if you are interested. I'm not an expert, and I don't play one on the blogosphere, but I am certainly grateful that there are experts that are willing share what they know with others...

Hope that all is going well with your garden and/or any other preparedness activity that you are working on!

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