How many of you have this as you’re evacuation plan? Grab iPhone, Get the hell out of there.
Not a very good plan. I really hope you’re dressed when you have to use this plan.
This post will cover the first section of your Go-Books, which is your “Evacuation Plan.” This will cover two things.
1. Your escape route,
2. Your 3 meeting places.
As my wife and I sat down this week and talked about our evacuation plan, we decided on a couple things. We wanted to draw out our floor plan and mark out our escape route depending on where we are in the house, and then create a checklist of things we want to grab when we evacuate.
Having an escape plan for your house is very important. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. You think you’re okay without it because you know your house and where your doors are, but wait until you’re in a real emergency. You’re in your office on the top floor of your house and there is a fire outside the door. Looks like the only way out is your window. Have you prepared for that? Do you have an escape plan? Is it simply to try to break your window and then jump? Or did you take the time to prepare. Now you have a window ladder set up so you don’t need to jump*.
After we drew out our floor plan, we talked about a checklist we would have when told to evacuate. It turned out to be a bit more complicated than we thought.
First off and most importantly, how much time do you have to evacuate? Does the military knock on your door and say “you have 5 minutes to get your things and get in the bus.” What do you grab then? Most likely it will be about 10-15 minutes, not 5. So we came up with a check list that is actually separated into three sections:
That way we know what to grab depending on how much time we have. In the 5 min time limit you want to put the most important. Here is what we put:
Gabby: Set timer on stove, Get kids into coats/shoes/outerwear then into van, grab purse
David: Grab go bags, go-book, and shut off water and power.
That’s it. 5 min isn’t much time. When we are done getting these go-books filled out, we will have everything information wise in our go-books. This includes passports, birth certs., SIN, etc. In your go bags you should have a pair of extra clothes including diapers for infants as well as phone chargers and maybe an extra key to your vehicles. I will actually do a whole post on our go bags and let you know what we put in ours.
So what if you have more time? Say 10 Min. What extra things should you grab? Here is what we put into our 10 min section:
Gabby: Grab extra clothes for kids, blankets, and favorite stuffies.
David: Grab water supply and food storage (what you can carry) in a laundry basket.
Once you hit the 5-10 min mark, you are grabbing comfort things. Things that are not necessary but will make your time away from home a bit more comfortable.
Gabby and I actually did a test run for our evacuation notice. We didn’t tell the kids ahead of time either. We did however tell them when we started that we are practicing and wanted to see how fast they could get into their boots and coats and into the van. We gave our self 15 mins. This is what we found:
15 min is a long time. I want to add something here though. 15 min is a long time if you’re prepared. We had our go bags packed. They of course were sitting where they are being stored, in our basement storage room, but they were there ready. We got our kids in the van, got the go bags, go-book, water supply, food storage, cells and chargers, laptop and charger, kids favorite blankets and stuffies, shut off power and water, grabbed 2 sleeping bags, 1 tent, Gabby’s purse, and our new camera. You may look at that list and think, ‘man there is a lot of comfort/unnecessary things on there’. Yeah, there is. And the amazing thing was we were done and in the van in 8 minutes. We still had 7 minutes left. That is amazing. We thought, ‘man, what else could we bring?’
Again I want to point out that we were prepared. It would be a different story if we were in the middle making dinner or already asleep. I am curious to see how long it would have taken us if our go bags were not packed. That means we would have to get luggage out of storage and fill each one with, hopefully, enough of the right clothes. When you’re rushed you might grab all your socks but no underwear. Not cool. Imagine if we only had 5 Min and no go bags. Basically have to walk away from everything.
If you are prepared, you will be able to grab way more things. You can’t live without new socks everyday? Then get prepared! You wont have to worry about stinky day old socks because you have some fresh pairs in your go bags already packed. Plus, if there is more than 5 min, you could grab more.
Onto the 3 locations.
When there is an evacuation notice, you need to have a location you can meet family and friends at. So why 3? What happens if location 1 is flooded out? Do you know where to go next? Do not expect evacuations to happen when it is convenient for you. It will probably happen when one spouse is at home and another is not. It is smart to have 3 locations, set in a certain order, that both spouses know about. That way if I am at work, and Gabby gets evacuated, and phone lines are down (or cell towers, or your cell is dead) I know where to head first. If that location is inaccessible for what ever reason, I know where to check next. Here is what we recommend for your 3 locations:
1 Community(church, school)
2 Family(moms, grandmas)
3. Out of city(family or church in a nearby city)
Always have a back up plan. Always.
It was fun doing the trial run. I encourage all of you that when you get your evacuation plan mapped out, give it a test run. See how you do. You will find out what you missed putting on your list, and what you can change to make it faster and better. It will open your eyes to how unprepared you really are.
Here’s the plan for next weeks post:
What you will need:
3. Cell phone full of contacts,
4. Utility Bills,
5. More wrist exercises.
We will be going into what and who to put into your emergency contact section. This may require you to make some phone calls to your family and friends to get some more information from them that we will include in this section.
* According to the Calgary Fire Marshall, you don’t want to use a window ladder. What they recommend is actually throwing a mattress out the window and jumping onto that. We found that out when my wife opened a day home here at the house and they told us that’s what we do with the kids. Throw a mattress out the window and then throw the kids wrapped in a blanket, so their arms and legs don’t flail…ummm. Okay. We will see how that goes when the time comes. I believe they said it is because windows ladders can burn. If the fire is on the bottom floor and then you throw a rope ladder out the window it could catch on the bottom and burn up. So there you go. Have a spare mattress in each room so you can throw your kids and your self onto it in case of a fire.