Be Prepared: How to Create a Family Evacuation Plan

Be Prepared: How to Create a Family Evacuation Plan 1

Natural disasters are awful enough on their own, but they become even worse when you and your family are not prepared to deal with them. Do you have a family evacuation plan? If the answer is no, then now is the time to create one. Here’s how to get started:

1. Know where to go. In the event that evacuation becomes necessary, you should already have an exit strategy in place. Everyone in the family should know where they are going, the address and any useful telephone numbers. Maybe the location varies based on the disaster – Are you going to a friend’s house, or the home of another family member? Will you be meeting up at a hotel or shelter? Now is the time to decide the answers to these questions.

2. Map it out. You should already have your evacuation route mapped out. Know which roads you plan on taking, and be sure that said roads are passable before heading out. Having an alternate route planned will be helpful in the event of flooding.

3. Specify a contact person. An out of town family member or friend is an ideal contact person in the event of a natural disaster. If you and your family become separated, this person will act as your intermediary in getting everyone reunited.

4. Know what to take. Time is often limited during an evacuation, which means you need to know the important items to take with you. Here is an idea of what you should take:

  • Prescription medication
  • First aid kit
  • Bottled water, flashlight and extra batteries
  • Any specialty items for children or the disabled
  • Clothing
  • Pet items (food, leash, etc)
  • Important documents – Insurance policies, birth/marriage certificates, passport/drivers license/identification card, stocks and bond certificates, recent tax returns – We recommend keeping copies of these on a password protected flash drive or external hard drive

5. Set a 10 minute limit. Evacuations need to happen quickly, so time is limited. Practice with your family and try to keep your evacuation time at 10 minutes or less.

Source – Preparing an effective evacuation plan

Photo – © Krasimira Nevenova –

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