Making an Escape Plan – Some Things to Consider
Three Steps to Devising an Escape Plan
There is no contesting the efficacy of a well-calculated “Plan B” for those times when, if you had a giant “reset” button, you would absolutely be pounding away at it. What does every good evacuation plan involve? According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) folks, first you should identify the most likely risks you face. Risks include environmental, technological, accidental and terrorist hazards.
Decide which hazard has the most potential to affect you. Review the actions that should be taken before, during and after an event that are unique to each hazard, plan and prepare.
Now you are ready to begin your planning.
Three Steps to Devising an Escape Plan
1. Assemble an emergency response kit: You should have one, but consider making two. The first kit should include everything you will need to stay where you are for at least three days and up to a week. The second kit should be a smaller “go-bag” of essentials, for when the plan goes from “shelter in place” to “evacuate.” Take an inside look at an emergency survival kit, and LDS emergency preparedness
For planning, FEMA recommends, at the minimum:
- Water: one gallon per person per day, for drinking and sanitation. It is helpful to consider stocking up on water sanitation additives, like iodine tincture.
- Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Try to think of food high in protein and calories, which will give you the longest sustainability. Protein bars, dried fruit, peanut butter or military “meals ready to eat” (MREs) are all durable and have a long shelf life. A good thing to know is about the emergency food secrets for a survival kit:
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Filter masks or cotton t-shirts (to help filter contaminants in the air)
- Baby wipes (for sanitation)
- Wrench or multi-tool (to turn off utilities)
- Manual can opener (if your kit contains canned food)
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter-in-place and protect against airborne contaminants)
- Garbage bags and plastic ties
- Unique family needs, such as daily prescription medications, infant formula or diapers, and important family documents
2. Make an emergency response plan: This plan should include an emergency contact for all family members to get in touch with when an emergency occurs. This will provide at least one way to identify everyone’s location. Make one plan to shelter in place and another evacuation plan. Different situations will call for different responses, and possibly both responses at some point. See: 9 Fires- Off-Campus Fires and Getting Out Safely for more information.
- For sheltering in place, consider ways in which you can seal your environment from outside contamination. Sealing might include pre-cutting plastic sheeting to seal around windows and ways to block up air vents and shut off devices that force air into the home. This includes heating systems, clothes dryers and air conditioning systems.
- For evacuations, think out several options ahead of time and be ready to act on them. Become familiar with alternate routes and multiple means of getting away. Know published evacuation routes. On that note, be sure you maintain an adequate level of gasoline – at least half a tank – at all times. Know where community evacuation shelters are located and how you will get to them.
3. Be prepared to communicate: It is very likely that communication systems will go down in an emergency, either under an increased load or due to physical damage. Prepare yourself with contingency plans. See: Emergency Communications: What You Can Use for Your Needs.
- Amateur Radio: The Federal Communications Commission licenses individuals as ham or amateur radio operators. Radio amateurs are volunteers who have formal and informal ways of communicating in the event of an emergency. Being a ham radio operator allows you to communicate via a network of private radio operators who are largely set up to establish an emergency communications grid in the event of loss of major communications.
- Emergency Alerts: Staying in emergency communications will allow you to make the decisions that keep you and the people with you alive. Also understand the new role social media is beginning to play in response preparedness communication. You should also be familiar with the ways in which the emergency alert systems will warn you.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Self-reliance and preparedness is another expression of love for your family. Understanding how to help them and yourself in a disaster is important. Disaster planning is essential. Visit the Just in Time Disaster Training – Library, by Disaster Resistant Communities Group, for easy to search video source for training on mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery training for a wide variety of disaster categories.
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