Friday, July 11, 2008


With random chunks of the west coast on fire, many people are being forced to evacuate their homes. While you never know if or when you may be forced to flee your home, here's how to be ready for that possibility:
  • Pay attention to the news. Some events come with enough warning (some wildfires, hurricanes), others may not (a chemical spill or neighborhood hostage situation), in either case, you need to know what is going on and that the possibility of evacuation exists. In emergent situations, you may only have minutes of notice via a reverse 911 call or the blaring of sirens/announcements by you local police or fire department.
  • Evacuate early if possible. If a category four hurricane is headed your way, don't wait until an evacuation is mandated and the roads are clogged before you head out.
  • Always have your BOB ready to go.
  • Make an evacuation plan way before you need it, not as the minutes are ticking by until you have to leave. Your plan should include how you will evacuate (car, plane, bus, etc) and where you will go (local hotel, friend's home a few hours away, a family member's home in another state). Note that there is no guarantee that public transportation will be available (or won't be overwhelmed) if you are counting on using it for evacuation.
  • Take special care to plan for those you are responsible for. An invalid parent who lives close to you who may have difficulty evacuating and may need medical support, your farm animals, a very pregnant spouse, or other situations that will require more preparation other than tossing your BOB in the car and leaving. Also, consider how you will gather up a spouse from work and your kids from school/friend's homes if an evacuation happens when they are away from home.
  • Continue listening to the news. Directions may be given for information on when and where to evacuate, locations of emergency shelters, Red Cross assistance, or other services planned for evacuees.
When it is time to leave:
  • Close and lock all windows and doors.
  • Make sure all appliances are turned off (stove, iron, etc).
  • Gather up all family members along with their BOBs and assemble at a pre-planned location (ie: in the garage).
  • Gather up all pets (they should have mini-BOBs as well which includes their food, some bottled water, a blanket or carrier, etc).
  • Toss anything else in the car that is necessary or useful such as medications, additional food/camping gear/bottled water, your laptop, your packet of important papers (copies of all important papers such as insurance policies, passports, birth certificates, etc. should be kept together and ready to "grab and go"). and other necessary, irreplaceable items.
  • If your car's fuel tank is not full and you have time, fill it up with the spare fuel kept for the lawnmower yard equipment.
  • Fill out this paper (keep some downloaded and readily available) and leave it on the kitchen counter or refrigerator door.
  • Ensure your home is secure (close garage door and make sure front door is locked).
  • Leave by the safest, most expedient route possible.
  • While you are on the road, call your emergency contact and let them know where you are headed.
  • Do not return to your home until you are told it is safe to do so.


  1. Good info.

    I have a punch list printed out and ready to go(I love punch lists) to make sure I don't miss anything or notifying anyone should we have to bail.

  2. Pretty darn cool.

    I made a copy/save.

    Don't know if I ever use it ( hope not ) but if I do I will have it.

    Thanks ( very much ).