When faced with a situation in which you have just enough time to escape we most likely won’t need to carry a full 72 hour backpack. Instead we may want to have ready a bag set up with just enough supplies to get us out.
A few events requiring immediate evacuation:
Earthquake: There is a distinct reality your home will be uninhabitable after the event, you may not be able to enter it again, ever.
Flood: Normally a long term evacuation, upon returning home you will most likely be faced with a lot of cleanup.
Wildfire: Moving rapidly, the only warning you receive may be the smell of smoke, your home may not be habitable after wards.
Hurricane: These storms include everything, building collapse, fire, flood allowing many hours to evacuate or just a few minutes.
Dam infrastructure being compromised: If you live below a Dam there is a threat of catastrophic failure, partial failure or over flow.
These events dictate for us to get out as fast as possible, grab an evacuation kit and go. During your pre-planning it should be detailed for an emergency evacuation, it will differ from a plan in which you are able to stay in the vicinity of your home. As an example I live on a levee, the levee can be driven on in emergency’s however realistically we will have to walk out. Our escape kits are set up with 1 quart of water, an energy bar, 12 hour light stick, whistle, waterproof matches (or a fire starter), rechargeable flashlight, emergency poncho (it may get or be rainy), a warm blanket, a multi-tool with a knife and a small first aid kit. Also, extra socks, underwear, shoes, a jacket and a hat. It may sound like a lot of items however it fits neatly in a satchel smaller than a carry on. On our small Island there are about 1500 people, we each have a muster station to report to, ours is about 300 yards away. From there we will most likely have to walk the 3 miles to the evacuation area, over the bridge and river.
It’s important to have a bag that fits and is comfortable, take some time to choose one, there are many available. Be certain your water proof bags are not filled to the point of having to keep the closures open, all pockets and flaps need to be zippered or buttoned closed, you don’t want what you rely on to be soaking wet and muddy when it is needed. Prudence tells us to expect tragedies in the middle of the night, in a rain storm, high winds or very terrible conditions. We must also assume that the majority of us will not be rescued immediately, only disabled and elderly will be, most healthy people will be last, placing us in a position of being an aid, helping where ever we may. We must also assume we will have to walk out, the road will be blocked by fallen trees and emergency vehicles dealing with all that is happening. We should have set up next to our beds (the previous night) clothing that can be put on in a minute or less time, layering is the best dress mode to take. We can always remove clothes when we’re hot, but if we get cold we may have no extra clothes to wear.
A real possibility is your neighbors most likely will not be as prepared as you are, it may place you in a position of being the only person with water, a flashlight and other precautionary supplies. We will have to deal with it, I am of the belief that a big part of being prepared for a disaster event is being overly prepared just a little bit. One more bottle of water, another small flashlight maybe, a spare jacket or hat, someone will need something, I cannot deny someone water.
Cell phones will be useless for local calls, the Internet will be down, we will have no electricity or water, communications immediately after a catastrophic event is essential, charge your cellular phone, lanterns and computer every night as part of your emergency planning preparing for disasters. (Before the event) Social media will be jammed up and the phone lines will be totally occupied for local calls, if you make attempts to call locally, wait at least 3 minutes between try’s. Less than 3 minutes will only add to the rush of attempted calls, further clogging up the system. It’s wise to consider establishing an out of state contact to enable people interested in your well being to have the telephone number to report to. Local lines will be swamped and out of area lines will be less swamped. After the initial contact stay in touch with the number, call every 3-4 hours, if that is not possible the initial contact is far better than no contact at all.
At some point we will end up at some sort of a sponsored assembly area, no one wants to be there, we have to make the most of the situation. Keep in mind everyone is trying to help, 90% of the people have never experienced any event that can be compared to this one. It will be hard but we must be patient.