Evacuating from your home can be a scary time.
I have not lived through it personally, but I live in an area that is prone to wildfires, which can cause evacuations at a moments notice.
As I write this, there is a large fire about an hour away that has consumed about 23,000 acres of forest and authorities have called for the evacuation of over 2,000 people. It is in a mountainous, rural area but is only 10% contained.
No one wants to go through an emergency evacuation. They don’t want to leave their home not knowing if it will be standing when they return.
Here are some things to remember when evacuating that may help you if you ever have to do this in the future.
10 Things to Remember During An Emergency Evacuation
- You are told to go, go. No matter if it is a wildfire or a hurricane, if you are told to evacuate, you should do it. You and your family are more important than your home or property. I can say that because I lost my home to a house fire 4 years ago. It is hard. But if you stay, you are putting your life, your family’s life and rescuers lives in danger. It’s not worth it. Trust me.
- Listen to the radio and local authorities. Keep your family in the loop of what is going on around you with local radio and tv. Find out where the threat is, when it will get to you and where you should go when evacuated by listening to local radio and authorities.
- Protect what is most important. Your family, your pets and your irreplaceable belongings are what you want to worry about most, in that order. If you have time to grab your wedding dress or grandmas wedding ring, do it. But make sure your family and pets are taken care of first.
- Important documents. I have another post about collecting your important documents for emergencies, so check that out for a list of things to take. Having these items together ahead of time will make it so much easier when you only have minutes to make decisions.
- Secure your animals. This may take some advanced planning if you have many large animals such as cattle and other livestock. Often in an evacuation situation, there are good samaritans that will open up their land for others to bring their animals to in an emergency.
- 72 Hour Kits. You should have a 72 hour kit for each family member (and pet) that includes food, water, clothing, and other essentials for 3 days. To find out more about how to make a 72 hour kit, you can read this post—> How to Make 72 Hour Kits to Get Your Family Prepared for Emergencies.
- Turn off utilities. You don’t want more damage done in your home than was made by the natural disaster. By turning off the utilities, you can help avoid burst pipes (flooding), gas explosions and other things that might occur. You can find out ahead of time how to turn these things off so you will know what to do in an emergency.
- Follow your plan. Take the time now to go over a plan with your family. Where will you meet in an emergency situation? What will you take with you? What will you do with your animals? Where will you go when you leave? These are just a few questions you will want to ask so that you will be prepared if you are asked to evacuate in a short amount of time.
- Secure Your Home. Make sure when you leave that you close windows and doors, and lock up your home and outbuildings. Unfortunately, there are people that will take advantage of evacuation situations to steal from you and your family. Don’t give them a free pass.
- Communicate with Friends and Family. If you are near the disaster, your friends and family will be worried about you. Let them know you are alright and what your plans are (especially if it means visiting them) via text, phone call, email or social media.
Planning and calm decision making can make a big difference in a stressful emergency evacuation. The more you can plan ahead of time, the easier it will be to grab and go at a moments notice.
After all, things can be replaced but people and pets can’t be. That is what we need to keep in mind when we go through emergency situations. Remember what is most important and how you can protect those things first.
Do you have an emergency evacuation plan for your family? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!