How To Make An Emergency Evacuation Checklist
A hurricane is targeting your house, or your home is in the path of a wildfire, or floodwaters are rising. What are the basic steps in an evacuation procedure? Have you ever considered an Emergency Evacuation checklist to follow for the safety and survival of you and your family?
Well, you should already have an emergency evacuation plan list in place.
And it should be the right plan which checks off the right supplies with a competent escape route, or you might be putting yourself and your family at great risk.
Maybe a life and death risk.
Everyone in a high-risk zone should have a bug-out bag already in place and a well-thought-out emergency plan listing what should be in that bag and how you will get out of town quickly.
You never know when the crisis might hit or hit at all, but when you need to get out now, making mistakes is not an option. Lives may be on the line.
Examples Of Why To Have Evacuation Plans
An evacuation plan is a big part of an emergency evacuation checklist and should lay out how to promptly leave your home during an emergency in an orderly and, at the same time, well-supplied way. Every family member should be familiar with several ways to leave the house and know what they are responsible to take with them.
If you rush to head out into the unknown without a plan, you will likely get lost due to the rush and confusion. You are not going to be the only one running from the crisis. Chances are is that you may never reach your intended destination.
Needing to know where you are going, how long it will take you to get there, and how to get there. It would be best to entertain the need for a map and possibly a compass. Don’t depend on your cell phone alone. The service might be down.
And what happens when you reach your pre-determined destination? Do you have a bug-out location already planned for and set up? Or did you find one during your rushed evacuation from your home?
Emergency Evacuation Headcount Checklist
Are you evacuating by yourself, or do you have a family? With kids or, god forbid, the ‘I know everything, teenager?
How about pets? It’s amazing that during these types of emergency evacuations, many pets are left behind to fend for themselves. How do you think that is going to work out?
If you’re evacuating by yourself because your job requires it (police, fire, EMT, etc), who are you leaving behind?
How will they survive in your absence? Do they have food and water? At least a 3-day supply for each person. How about the shelter you are leaving them in?
Will it be OK during this crisis situation?
Or will they be leaving as well?
If people depend on you for their daily needs, they’ll depend on you in emergencies, too whether you are there or not.
You need a list. A template of everything you need not be forgetting. And this emergency evacuation checklist should be a list made now, not during the rush of your evacuation. It should include essential and basic supplies, such as water, food, and first-aid supplies. But do not forget these things:
- Your driver’s license.
- The title to your house.
- Insurance policies for auto and home.
- Medical records and any required prescriptions.
- If you have them, your passports should be included.
- Social security cards for everyone in the family.
- A list of personal friends and family contacts. Don’t depend on your phone. You want a hard copy.
At the very least, you would want these things on your person so they do not get lost in a damaging house situation. Store them in a water-tight device such as a big zip-lock baggie, and be happy that you have them after the crisis.
You might have difficulty returning to your home in a severe bug-out, get-out-of-town situation. That emergency evacuation checklist template will remind you to take care of the easy-to-forget things before you go.
If you do return, you should shut off water, gas lines, and other utilities to keep the property safe. Put that type of reminder on that template.
Emergency Evacuation Route
Stay off the beaten path and try staying out of sight so you aren’t taken advantage of by people looking for supplies. Your supplies! And if the wrong people know where you are going, they may make a visit to your bug-out location to steal your supplies. Consider keeping quiet about who you are and what your plans are.
Emergency Evacuation Bag Out Bag Checklist
Everyone should at all times have an emergency evacuation bag ready to go at all times. In the prepping world, this would be the bug-out bag. Sometimes you need to get out now.
I mean, so fast, just checking out that emergency checklist will take too long, and you need some basic supplies now. A simple well-prepared, bug-out bag could mean the difference between surviving with some needed creature comforts or struggling to avoid a catastrophe.
And it should not be one of vacation size. You may be on foot. I have hiked the Appalachian Trail and was exposed to carrying sometimes too little, sometimes too much, and just the right amount of weight in my pack.
I learned from others that hikers that carried more than 20% of their body weight were more likely to sustain injury and not complete their hike. I’ve been there.
Your bag should have a belt strap that focuses the weight onto your hips. If your bag doesn’t fit right, you will use the wrong muscles that will bear the brunt of your pack and wear you out, possibly causing injury.
Everyone in your family should have their own bug-out bag. And don’t show off. Not everyone should know your business. Stealth is important when bugging out.
If people think you’ve got an emergency supply bag with supplies, you’re a person of interest. Choose a pack that blends into your situation and isn’t too obtrusive. And that goes for what is in the bag too.
You should be able to reach for your bug-out bag quickly and easily.
Don’t pack what you don’t need. Only pack what is necessary and leave the kitchen sink and make-up at home. Remember, your goal and that of your family is to reach that destination safely, so you’ll have to leave some things behind. Canned food is too heavy, every day, pots and pans are out, as are those heavy vacation-type sleeping bags.
What Should Be In An Evacuation Bag
You’ll need food on your journey, so make sure you pack enough food. But what to pack while keeping it lightweight?
Canned foods are out.
Refrigerated foods are also out. You do not want to be lugging around ice cubes, do you?
You probably should have 3 to 4 days’ worth of food in each bag for each person. And you’ll need more calories for all that energy you use.
This is where those dehydrated, long-lasting food buckets come into play. Lightweight, high in calories, and just needing a small amount of water, they will get you by for several days without strainging you back or filling up that emergency evacuation bag.
- Water (one gallon per person per day for several days for drinking and cooking)
- Water filter or life straws if you find a water source
- Food (at least a several-day supply of non-perishable food)
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio
- First aid kit and medical prescriptions and supplies
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air during fires)
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
- Duct tape (you never know!)
- Extra socks
- Cold hard cash
More Emergency Evacuation Checklist Tips
You may need to adjust your clothing when getting out because the weather can be unpredictable. So ensure you are properly prepared for rain or cold to prevent frostbite, hypothermia, or heat stroke. Know where you are and where you are going.
And consider some type of shelter. Because a tent may be too heavy in your pack, you should have some sort of shelter options such as a lightweight tarp, plastic sheathing, or a bivy bag to protect you at night. Yeah, and some duct tape.
Don’t forget those pets. Because pets also need to eat and drink like you. And they will need shelter just like you would.
When leaving your house in a hurry, you should remember to lock all your windows and doors and unplug your appliances and electrical equipment, such as TVs and computers. Also, shut off the water supply to your washing machine.
A Simple Evacuation Solution
The best way to achieve a successful emergency evacuation is to keep it simple.
Even after consuming everything in this post, that is still doable if your plans are in place before the crisis happens.
Consider your situation, and determine the correct actions. Verify all possible safe routes and, most important: account for everyone.