How to Evacuate in 30 Minutes or Less
by Cheryl Riggs
You don’t want to know this information.
Because if you ever need it, your heart will be pounding, your mind will be racing and there will be a sense of urgency in the air. But in the event of a hurricane, earthquake or terrorist attack, having a plan in place will help you make critical decisions quickly and save you precious minutes.
Life Is Most Important
Hands down, nothing in your home is more important than your family (including your pets). Having a plan in advance for their safety should be your first priority. You should plan specifically for those who are dependant on you. Ask questions at your children’s school to find out what the plan is in an emergency. If there are frail or disabled people in your life be sure that there is a written disaster plan where they live. Knowing these answers in advance will assist you in making wise decisions in short amounts of time.
Survival of the Most Prepared
Most of what we use, crave or believe we need daily is not necessary. You must decide what is so important you cannot survive without it and make sure it is ready to grab quickly. For most of us, this is prescription medication or other medical needs, water, food, and first aid supplies. Secondary items include appropriate clothing for your climate and hygiene supplies.
The things that are absolute essentials should be readily available. Keep a supply on hand so that you can pack them, or pre-pack a bag with these items and keep it in your car. In most cases, 2-3 days of supplies will be sufficient.
Photos, collectibles, and heirlooms are often listed as the things people would pack if they have time. However, unless they are very old or valuable, they are not as important as you might believe. Many photos are stored on computers or have been shared with family and friends. Collectables can be replaced and heirlooms often contain only sentimental value. It’s nice to be able to keep these items, but not essential.
If possible, store photos of your household items on a CD, along with scanned copies of documents that you will need. Website addresses along with your username and password will be a great help in locating needed information. If possible, consider your computer and your essential files as one of the first things you pack. If you lose your home what you will miss more than your family photos is your property insurance information and your agent’s name and phone number.
Cash is King
In a true emergency, there will be no electricity. Planning ahead for communication, transportation and living needs without the convenience of credit or debit cards will mean you need cash. The amount you will need varies greatly depending on the type and the scope of the disaster and where you stay. Be sure you have enough on hand and in a place that is easily accessible if you need to get you and your family to a safe place.
There, that’s better
Now, when you hear the warning signal to go, you’ll know what to do and what to take. This small amount of planning will help you and your loved ones to evacuate in 30 minutes or less and assure your safety and well being until the crisis is over. It will probably also help you sleep better at night.
About the Author
Cheryl Riggs is the owner of RCI Consulting, LLC and is committed to helping families cope with aging and preparing for the future. Her 20 years of experience in non-profit and small business management gives her a broad base of knowledge in many areas. She is a Certified Senior Advisor with a degree in Business Administration from Azusa Pacific University, a Master’s of Science in Gerontology from USC, a credential in Fundraising from the University of California Riverside and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and is a licensed Realtor in California.