Having friends and family affected by the recent fires in Herriman, Utah has been a not so subtle reminder that we all need to be prepared for an evacuation type emergency. If you had to leave your house today, would you be ready to do that?
I think it’s fair to assume that the specific items that are important to each person and family will be different, but it is a good idea to know where your treasured items are and have a plan for gathering them quickly so that you can get them and get out on short notice. I really like FlyLady’s Points to Preparedness for an Emergency to remind us of all the things we need to take with us. Her list includes:
- PURSES and PETROL
- PROPER CLOTHES and COMFORT ITEMS
- PLANNER/CALENDAR/CONTROL JOURNAL
- PERSONAL PROTECTION
- PHONES and RADIOS
You can visit the link above for more details on what she suggests, but here are a couple of my notes.
♦ Remember that not everyone is always in the same place at the same time. Make sure you also develop a plan for what to do if an emergency happens while some members of your family are away from home. I’m fortunate that my husband works straight down the street, about 2 miles from our home. In most emergencies I would gather the stuff here while waiting for him to come home so that the kids and I would be ready to go as soon as he got here. If there were an emergency where we had to leave before he got home, we would either wait outside near the apartment or start walking towards his work place. If we were to move farther from his work, it would be important for us to set up a plan of a place to meet.
♦ We are not always at home when disaster strikes. In the recent Herriman fires I heard a story of a family who was away from home at the time evacuations were announced. By the time they were able to get back to their house the smoke and ash were so thick that it burned the eyes and throat. They left again without even going into the house to gather things.
♦ Many cities and towns will have evacuation plans in place should there ever be a large scale emergency. Find out what the emergency plans are in the place where you live so that you will know in advance where to go and when.
And, like FlyLady says, always remember to take your patience with you. Remember that in an emergency situation people are going to be scared and worried. Try to keep that in mind while thinking about how to handle any situation.