How quickly can you evacuate?
You never know when or where a disaster can occur and, for sure, you’ll never know how much time you’ll have to react.
Our local news ran a story and a video about an evac exercise with a young family entitled “5 Minute Warning: Preparing for Disaster“. Here’s the LINK, I don’t know how long they’ll keep the article online but it is a pretty good one.
Disasters can happen any day and anywhere so if the disasters along the Mississippi River and in Japan aren’t enough incentive to prepare here’s a few more recent headlines:
It’s wise to revisit the basics once in awhile and the news stories above are a good reminder for all of us here to check and double check our go-bags and evac plans.
Over the years we’ve refined our system here at home and have simplified our evacuation gear down to a series of go-bags that are the actual permanent storage area for our supplies. For example, we have a first-aid/medical go-bag that contains all of the refills for our individual kits plus other items like BP cuff, thermometer etc. We don’t keep these things spread out around the house in the bathrooms or closets. The go-bag is THE place where these items are always kept and are inventoried once or twice per year. These bags stay on our “prep-shelf” in our “prep-closet”.We never have to worry about gathering anything, the bags are all in one spot and ready to get tossed into the Jeep without having to think twice about what’s in them.
About the only thing that isn’t prepacked is the canned food. We keep a few empty duffel bags in the pantry so we can scoop the cans off the pantry shelves and right into the bags as we head out the door.
A few more points worth mentioning:
After you’ve made a personal kit, I’d recommend building a comprehensive kit. Even if you don’t know how to properly use all of the items. Having medical supplies like this available to a professional during a disaster could save a life.
Make an Everyday Carry Bag:
This bag should carry the most basic things that you would need for the most likely disruptive events in your daily life (power outage, traffic accidents or delays due to severe weather). Pack your EDC logically with things like an IFAK w/tourniquet, flashlight, gloves, safety glasses etc. Having this bag with you all the time will at least give you the essentials if you have to bail so fast that you aren’t able to grab anything at all.
Don’t forget the documentation:
Make copies of all important documents and keep them with your go-bags. You might want to include photos of your kids, pets, home and belongings.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Run drills and fine tune your evacuation process. Find out what does and doesn’t work BEFORE you need to implement your plan. When our kids were young they loved these drills (usually). Start with planned drills on the weekends and then throw in a few surprises and twists later on when you think they’re ready.