How to Prepare for an Emergency Home Evacuation
Disasters and emergencies can be sudden, happening at any moment. In such situations, you may be advised — or, if the disaster is severe enough, required — to evacuate your home and the area you live in. Because of that, you will need supplies and other things of importance to take with you when leaving. However, you likely won’t have enough time to gather the essentials in time for evacuation. Some disasters could give you ample time to prepare everything you need for an emergency evacuation, but others will require immediate action with no time to spare.
With that being said, you need to prepare yourself and your family for an emergency evacuation beforehand. That way, when an emergency evacuation is needed, you’ll be ready and can act promptly.
During an emergency evacuation, one of the most important things to have are plans for you and your family.
You must create a primary evacuation route that you can all take when evacuation is necessary. But be sure to develop multiple routes so that there are alternate ones in case you’re unable to take the primary route.
You also need to designate a meeting place. At the time you evacuate your home and area, it will be possible that your family isn’t all together. But by designating a meeting place, you’ll have a spot where you can meet. However, it is important that the meeting place is outside of the evacuation area.
Because you may not all be together or you can get separated from your family, it’s vital to have a communication plan in place so that you can stay in touch with one another. Maybe someone is unable to get to the meeting place but is still safe. You’ll want to know this, and this can be achieved with a communication plan. So be sure to have everyone’s cell phone numbers on hand as one method of communication. Even if there’s poor cell service, oftentimes text messages will still work. But it’s necessary to come up with alternatives in case there is absolutely no landline or cell phone service.
Keep in mind that public safety officials will make announcements as necessary in multiple ways: the news, smart phone alerts, social media, and more. Such information can be helpful and particularly valuable in the case family members become separated from one another.
Have Necessary Items on Hand
When you evacuate your home, there are essentials you can purchase elsewhere outside of the evacuation area, but it’s best to have supplies readily available. There are also some items you’ll need that you can’t simply obtain easily elsewhere.
Prepare a Survival Kit
Having an emergency survival kit packed ahead of time is one of the most useful and important things to do when preparing yourself for an emergency evacuation, because it will contain a plethora of materials you’ll need when away from your home.
Make sure to have water and non-perishable foods on hand in addition to a three- to seven-day supply of medication for anyone who needs it. You should also have a flashlight, a first-aid kit, a portable radio, batteries, a cell phone charger and chargers for other electronics, blankets, extra clothing, and personal hygiene items among other things.
If you have pets, be sure to bring food and extra water for them. You can also make a separate kit for them, including a leash, three days’ worth of food and water, bowls, and medication. If your pets aren’t already micro-chipped and don’t have ID collars, be sure to accomplish those tasks as well.
Copy Important Documents
In addition to the survival kit, you need to make copies of all of your important documents. After you’ve made copies of these, be sure to store them in a waterproof plastic case to prevent them from being damaged. Some of the documents you should make copies of are your driver’s license or identification card, your house deed, insurance cards and other proof of insurance, social security cards, passports, medical records, and a personal contacts list.
If the emergency allows for spare time to take further protective steps, there are several things you can do to safeguard your home and belongings from a disaster.
Shut Off Utilities
If you can, turn off all your utilities including electricity, gas, and water. By doing this, you can help prevent potential hazards these utilize can cause like explosions, fires, and flooding.
Take Care of Your Home’s Exterior and Yard
You can manage your yard by tending to any trees and shrubs so that they don’t fall or damage your property if they have weak or diseased branches. If you have wind chimes, birdhouses, or any other items hanging from your home’s exterior or from trees, then take those down as well. That way, they don’t fall, break, and/or cause damage to anything when the disaster strikes. Any objects that aren’t nailed down should be brought inside, too.
If your windows don’t have stormproof shutters, you can cover them up with plywood to prevent them from breaking.
Safeguard Personal Belongings
To protect your personal belongings, move them to higher levels in your home ― particularly your valuables. Doing this will help prevent them from suffering water damage. To protect your electronics and furniture, wrap them in blankets, plastics drop cloths, or sheets.
For those with homes that are in areas prone to flooding, you’ll want to sandbag your property. It’s helpful to either have sandbags or the materials to make them on hand. For reference, 100 sandbags create a 20-foot-long, 1-foot tall wall.
If you take the necessary precautions, you can ensure that you, your family, and your property are all safe when there’s a disaster that necessitates evacuation. However, sometimes disasters are so severe that property damage is unavoidable. If you return to your home after an emergency evacuation only to find it has suffered storm damage, then you need to contact professional storm damage restoration services right away. Our professionals at SVMPS are ready to provide storm and water damage restoration for homes and businesses in the St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN area that have been damaged.