Howdy all! How are those 5-Minute Evacuation Plans coming along? I’ll admit it’s been a decently insane week for me and so I didn’t get around to much of it. Such is the life of us crazy people who try to take on the entire world with one hand tied behind our back, huh? 😉
Well, even though I’m not fully up to par with my 5-Minute Evac Plan, I wanted to go ahead and quickly discuss the 5-Hour Evacuation Plan because it is essentially just an extension of the 5-minute plan. So you might as well just plan the two together.
The 5-Hour Evacuation Plan is for situations in which you know danger is coming, but you have time to properly get you, your family, and your home prepared for the evacuation (i.e. a hurricane, wild fires approaching your area, or other similarly ‘foreseeable’ disasters).
This plan uses all the same parts as the 5-Minute Plan (Parts 1-4), except Part 1 (where you decide what to take with you) can be extended and you’re not in as much of a rush out the door. Other than that, Parts 2-4 are still the same. You keep your same exit routes, destinations, and follow the proper protocol for if the family is not together (although, if you have plenty of advanced warning that you’re going to need to evacuate, your family should have plenty of time to gather, so this should not be much of an issue). You can almost plan for this type of evacuation the same way you would a vacation, only you’ve got to prepare yourself for the possibility that you might not have a home to come back to. (That’s a sobering thought, isn’t it?) So take your most precious valuables with you.
Here are some things to consider when evacuating:
- Leave early! If you know you’re going to have to leave, don’t wait until the last minute because then you’ll be stuck in a terrible traffic jam with everyone else that’s evacuating. (And yes, here in Houston we are well aware of what that means. During the evacuation for the Hurricane Rita threat, we had several deaths occur on the freeway, not from accidents but from things like lack of water (dehydration) and heatstroke! The traffic jams prevented people from getting anywhere (including from exiting the freeway), so people couldn’t get water, gas for their cars when they ran out (which meant no a/c), etc. It’s tragic, but also a reality of mass evacuations. So leave early (and that’s also why I say take extra water and gas with you if possible)!
- Again, take only one vehicle. If you have more than one, try to leave the other(s) in as safe a spot as possible, but please do not contribute to the traffic by taking more than one car. If the other car(s) gets damaged, that’s what insurance is for.
- Prepare your home for the approaching danger. For hurricanes you can board up windows and bring in any loose yard items. For fires you can leave attached garden hoses and buckets full of water around your house (and be sure to move any propane BBQ tanks away from the home).
- Turn the water to your home off at the main valve, but leave the gas ON (unless instructed by authorities to turn it off). Once you turn your gas off you must have a professional turn it back on. And in the aftermath of an emergency situation, there’s no telling how long that will be! It’s also best to turn the main electricity off, but doing so will mean your fridge and freezer are going to be off while you’re gone (so I would definitely empty those out before you leave… unless you plan to just trash them when you come back as the smell will be horrific!!)
- If you have pets, make preparations for them as well. (Note that if you are going to an evacuation shelter, most will not allow pets.)
In general, probably the biggest tip is to just be aware of what the most likely disasters for your area are and then do a quick internet search to find out the best ways to handle those situations. You could also contact or visit your local authorities to learn what they recommend as well as your area policies for emergencies and evacuations.
And as promised, here are my 5-Minute and 5-Hour Evacuation Plans (well, at least Part 1 of them) for those who are more visually inspired and like an example to work from. You’ll see the second is just an extension of the first. Hope this helps. 🙂 (And yes, I edited these so that you all don’t know where everything is in my home and have all my personal information… as much as I love you all. ;))
(You’ll see at the bottom of the first list that I’ve broken up the responsibilities. This is so that if we’re both home, we can quickly accomplish each checklist item and not worry about who’s doing what. I don’t worry about that on the 5-hour plan because there’s enough time to verbally communicate what each person is doing and assign responsibilities.)
Oh… and if you get to the ‘guns’ part on these and are worried that we’re down here ready to kill our neighbors, let me put your mind at ease. We take our guns with us because Hubby is a big hunter, and where we evacuate to has a lot of wild game. So our guns are actually a means to more food. Gotta love Texas! 😉
Alright! So, I think we’ve pretty much covered evacuations!! Hallelujah! On to other topics. 😉