Forest fires are threatening a big chunk of our province, and evacuation orders are real.
I’m sharing some of my Emergency Preparedness training with you, in hopes of making things just a bit easier if you’re faced with an evacuation warning–and please feel free to share with others.
TEN BASIC RULES for WHEN YOU RECEIVE AN EVACUATION ORDER
- If you’re given instructions, follow them.
- If ordered to do so, turn off water, gas, and electricity.
- Leave immediately, taking all the other residents, including pets, with you, along with your grab-and-go-bag (and your emergency survival kit if possible).
- If there is time, leave a note telling others when you left and where you went…. The mailbox is a great place to leave it, or in the fridge. Yes, IN the fridge as it will be relatively safe from floodwater, some fires and some hazardous chemical spills, etc.
- Wear clothing and shoes appropriate for the weather conditions.
- Lock the house.
- Listen to the radio and follow instructions from the local emergency officials.
- Do your best to follow the routes specified by the officials. Know that if you deviate, you could end up on a road that is blocked, or in a dangerous area (not one where they’ll think to look for you later).
- Call your out of town contact asap to inform them of the situation and where you are going.
- Sign up with the emergency registration centre as soon as possible because that will be how some family members and those worried will locate you (if you don’t have an out of town contact) and how you will be accounted for so no search is necessary.
3 WAYS YOU CAN BE READY FOR ANYTHING
1. GRAB AND GO BAG
Keep it packed and ready at all times so you’re not running from room to room gathering what you might need.
Critical, must have items for everyone’s Go Bag
- Water. As many bottles of water as you can carry
- Water purification tablets
- Medication. Whatever you and your family must have or might need to survive
- A copy of any prescriptions you may need to fill if away from home more than a few days
- Basic pain killers such as Tylenol, Advil, Aspirin etc.
- EpiPen (if someone in your household suffers from life-threatening allergies)
- Glasses, and or contact case and solution
- Spare Keys (house and car)
- Dental floss (doubles as string and very useful)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste. Brushing one’s teeth has been found to be number one on the list of little things you can do to feel better or refreshed.
- Hand sanitizer, again, it will make you feel better
- A lighter, because fire is the ultimate tool, and even waterproof matches are often unreliable
- Flashlight, batteries, and light sticks
- Portable radio and batteries
- Photos of family members and pets
- Out-of-area contact numbers
- Emergency phone list
- List of people to notify if you are injured
- Description of pertinent medical history/conditions.
- Copies of important documents
- Social security, Driver’s License, CareCard
- Birth certificate., Adoption papers
- Marriage certificate/Divorce decree
- Bank information to access accounts manually.
- Credit card information
- Pet vaccination records
- Cash (coins and small bills) – Assume ATM’s will not be working.
- Whistle (to call for help if trapped)
- Pocket knife, scissors, or box cutter
- Small first aid kit
- Several pairs of latex gloves
- Dust mask
- Toilet paper
- Pet food to last 3 days
***Packing items inside Ziploc bags not only keeps them clean and dry, but ensures you have some handy re-sealable, waterproof bags in your GB.
Optional but necessary
- Comfortable shoes/boots
- Two pairs of socks (more if you have room)
- Comfortable clothing (sweats, extra underwear)
- Jacket or sweatshirt (depends on your climate)
- Lip balm, lotion
- Soap, washcloth, face towel, shampoo
- Razor, emery board, nail clippers
- Sanitary products, tissue,
- Sunscreen, plastic grocery bags Good book, playing cards, crossword puzzles
- Work gloves
- Gloves/mitts and instant hand warmers if cold temps are an issue in your area
- Plastic ground sheet
- Food Snacks – preferably high protein (canned nuts have good storage life, but be aware of allergies)
2. PET PREPARATION
Be Ready! Have your crates where they can quickly be accessed, have leashes and harnesses etc by the door.
Have an ID tag, complete with pet photo and your contact information clipped to the travel crate. If you have more than one pet, clip them all to one crate and you can sort out who’s in which one later.
Have a Pet Emergency Kit ready to grab and go. It should contain:
- Water and a water bowl
- Food for a week, and a food dish
- A blanket (something that smells like home will help them settle)
- A pair of old socks for each crate (they carry their human’s scent and that of their house)
- Toys (your pet will need exercise and entertainment)
- Leashes (if you have an extra, pack it, someone else may need one)
- An extra collar or harness (just in case you come across a lost or stray pet)
- Special equipment, provisions or medications
- A photo copy of vaccination records
- Contact information for the Vet office we use
3. OUT OF TOWN CONTACTS
…are like a secret stash of gold in your emergency kit.
Scenario: An earthquake hits, the power goes out, some buildings have fallen, there is widespread damage. You’re at work, your husband is at work, your daughter is at the local university, and your son is at high school.
Will both you and your husband be trying to reach the kids? Will he be phoning you while your daughter is also trying to reach you? Will all of you be waiting for the other to call first? You’re panicking and now you dial 911, but you get a busy signal, or a dial tone. What if the lines are down, the cell tower is out, or the circuits are overloaded? Who you gonna call? NO, NOT the ghost guys!
Instead of jammed circuits and dead cell batteries, you each make one call outside of your area, to Aunt Mary. You tell her where you are, what shelter you’re going to, etc. And Aunt Mary tells each of you where the others are when you check in.
This contact is also incredibly helpful for extended family and friends, because they want to know if you’re okay as well.
Once shelters are set up and the Red Cross is at work, they will do a fabulous job of keeping everyone informed of the status of their kin….but until then, Aunt Mary keeps you all in the loop.
So PLEASE, pick yourself a contact or two or three. Explain their role and provide your contact information.
If you’ve chosen more than one contact, make sure they have each other’s contact information so there are no breakdowns in communication.
Apologies for the rough way this blog is put together, but I felt it more important to get the information out there quickly, and forfeit the pretty formatting.
I sincerely hope none of you has to evacuate, but if you do, I hope I’ve helped you be ready to get out quickly and safely.