My sister asked me to post our evacuation list so she could get an idea of how we organize the family for emergencies. I have our 72-hour kits in a closet under the stairs, and this chart is taped on the wall inside the closet so everyone knows what they are responsible for in an evacuation. It's really been nice to have it. When we do our mock evacuations, the family is completely packed and loaded in the car in 10 minutes. That quick escape is vital in a large-scale evacuation so you can avoid the traffic getting out of the city. I have friends who evacuated from Houston when hurricanes came a couple years ago. The families that were prepared and ready to leave had virtually no traffic problems and arrived to Austin in 3 hours. The families that needed to pack and left 60 minutes later were stuck in traffic and took NINE HOURS to make the same trip. Which scenario would you pick? You really have control over it. Watch this video to see two families try to evacuate in 10 minutes. Which family are you? In a hazardous waste emergency, you won't have more than 10 minutes to get out, so being prepared brings me so much peace of mind. I know we'll be fine and we won't have to panic at all. (the pictures have nothing to do with the post...I just wanted to share them)
Here is a great layout for the list from another LDS mom. There are a few things I changed on my own list top make things easier and more organized.
My own chart has 3 columns:
1- The name of the item to be collected
2- the location (upstairs, Master bedroom, garage, etc)
3- The person responsible for retrieving the item
It's important to start thinking about your list now. As time goes by, I often think of things that I would like to add or delete on the list. I separate the list into chunks. The first chunk of items are the basic necessities that we'd take if we only had 10 minutes to get out. The next chunk of items are things I'd like to take if we had another 5-10 minutes to leave, like the tent, camping stove, propane tank, another 7-day supply of food, etc. The last chunk is what I'd like to take for purely sentimental reasons if we had another 5-10 minutes, but it's not essential for survival, like my original paintings. They could be quickly wrapped in a blanket and stored under the back bench of the van.
Each family is different, so each list needs to be tailored to you.
Sarah and Matthew are old enough to read the chart and carry out the instructions. Daniel's only job in to gather pillows form each bed, then buckle up in the van so he's not in the way. I like having each person in charge of specific items because everything runs smoothly and there's not a feeling of chaos. Everyone runs to their places of the house and brings them to the car. It's also nice to know Nathan will take care of all the heaviest items, like the cases of water bottles.
In order to pack the car in an orderly way and fit everything compactly, we have the kids deliver the items to the driveway next to the trunk of the van. Nathan stands there and loads everything (after fetching the items that he's responsible for) so we can fit things tightly and orderly.
Being prepared does take work, but I think it's worth it. The scriptures say, "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." It's so true. I love having peace in my heart knowing that I can take care of my children no matter what unexpected events come our way.
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For more great information on emergency preparedness, this fantastic site. It has SO much information about food storage, 72-hour kits, first aid, etc.