Friday, September 10, 2004

Gathering and Evacuating

There are a number of disasters where the local government will advice evacuation, you need to have a plan to deal with that possibility. Hurricanes and Wildfires often have large scale evacuations. Small scale evacuations often come from things like chemical spills from a truck crash, or a burning warehouse.

A typical family ends up quite widely separated during an average weekday, The parents at different workplaces and the children in one or more schools.

There are three places you generally would be when a disaster could happen, you need to keep a 72 hour kit in each place:

You need a plan to gather everyone together so you can provide and protect your family.

Where will your spouse and children be?
How will you be able to contact them?
How will they contact you?
How will you gather together?
Where will you meet?
Where will each of you go if your building is evacuated?
Try to think of the worst case scenario for something to happen in. If you can solve that one, even if imperfectly, all the rest will be easy.

Most times you will try to get together back home which is fine in most cases, just have an alternate ready as well in case the home has been destroyed, from say a tornado or is otherwise inaccessible, a bridge collapsed.

What your responses would be may be different depending on where you are, mainly because of what resources you might have available to you to deal with the disaster.

Having pre-planned evacuation routes in all major directions is the ideal. For example Florida has had evacuations several times in the past few years due to hurricanes. A common feature to any major evacuation is that the Interstate end up jammed. People without plans take the most convenient route, and since hardly anyone has a plan they all pick the same route. So the evacuation plan should not depend on the Interstate but on other highways and roads. Practice using them at least once a year.
Having a good atlas in the car also allows you to route around cities and other things. Sometimes the best thing to do may be to go the long way to get where you want to go as fewer people will take that route and so you can go faster. For example going from Denver to Kansas City might be most direct by taking I-70 however most people without plans would take the most direct route and jam the highway. A route that would do better is to go North to Cheyenne and take I-80 East instead.

No comments: