- Short-term evacuation. As happens often in Las Vegas (as well as other cities), some fool holes up in his home with a rifle, refusing to come out, almost always domestic violence related, and SWAT is surrounding the neighborhood. Usually the immediate neighbors are told to leave their homes until the situation resolves, sometimes the entire neighborhood is told to evacuate. Your most basic evacuation plan should address what you would do if there was a SWAT situation in your neighborhood, there was a chemical spill, or some other situation which required you to evacuate your home for two to 24 hours. Generally the plan can be to go to a restaurant for lunch, maybe catch a movie, or hang out at the library or at a friend's house until the situation resolves. Having a little extra cash on hand to pay for your day out is a good idea.
- Medium-term evacuation. A medium-term evacuation is usually done for a wildfire, hurricane, flood, or other situation that may require you to be away from your home for a 24-hour to seven day period. Where would you go? How would you get there? Do you have sufficient gas to evacuate? Do you have a place to stay away from your city like a friend's house or a hotel? What would you bring with you? A BOB? Camping gear? Several hundred dollars in extra cash? Food? Usually--hopefully--you will be able to return to your home after a few days and it will still be standing.
- Longer medium-term evacuation. There are some disasters that may force you to evacuate and you may not be able to return for months or longer. Think Hurricane Katrina-devastated areas, flooded areas of Houston, or the areas devastated by the recent Puerto Rico hurricanes. Where would you go? Do you have the money to sustain yourself and your family if you have to live in a hotel for weeks? Do you have friend or relatives in a non-devastated area that would take you in for an indeterminate amount of time? How would you continue to work? Do you have insurance to replace your home and its contents if necessary? What would you need to resettle in a new place for weeks or months? Do you have copies of the kid's school records and vaccine records to easily enroll them in a new school?
- Can't ever return to your city evacuation. There have been several situations where entire cities are evacuated and people will never be allowed back in (like Chernobyl or Centralia, Pennsylvania). What would you do if you are suddenly told that you and everyone in your town needed to evacuate and never return to your home? You would need to find a new place to live, a place to stay until you get settled, have the money to resettle, determine how to continue working and earning money, have a plan for what to bring with you if you had to hurriedly leave with all of your worldly possessions, etc.
- Can't return to your country evacuation. This is the most extreme evacuation. Think fleeing from the Nazis, fleeing from Pol Pot, fleeing from Venezuela, or some other extreme situation where you need to flee your country and not return for maybe years or possibly never. What you don't want to be is a refugee in a refugee camp. More proactive people will be able to travel freely to another country (ie: have a "good" passport which will allow visa-free travel to many countries), be knowledgeable of the new country's immigration system, have sufficient cash to resettle yourself and your family in said country, have sufficient skills--both language and job skills--to immediately get settled into a money-earning situation like a job or self employment, and have the experience and social skills to settle into your new country.
Hopefully these situations never happen but it pays to be a bit proactive and consider what you would need to do to prepare should you be given a very short time to pack up and leave your home.
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