A disaster hits – do you evacuate or stay where you are? Obviously what you should do depends upon the situation. Either way, you must stay calm – being able to think clearly can make all the difference.
Now, having answered that question, let’s break down a plan for both responses. The main idea to follow is to do as you are instructed. There will be information given as to whether you should evacuate and where the best places to go or if you should shelter-in-place.
Making an Evacuation Plan:
Evacuation orders are issued by local governments when an emergency occurs or may happen. If possible, the orders will be broadcast on radio or television. But other warning systems may also be used. That’s why it is very important to be alert for instructions. Follow the travel routes outlined by authorities.
Prepare a plan in case authorities can’t give you instructions right away. Plan where you’ll go, how you’ll get there and what you’ll bring.
- Choose several destinations in different directions.
- Get maps and figure out alternate routes.
If you don’t have a car, figure out other types of transportation (such as asking to ride with a neighbor). If you have a car, always keep at least half a tank of gas in it.
Evacuate immediately if told to do so.
· If possible, tell your contact person [remember that out-of-town person that you and your family set up in your plan?] where you are going.
· If instructed to, turn off the water, electricity and gas at the main switches in your home.
· Take your emergency kit.
· Lock your home.
Remember to always keep an emergency kit ready to go. Shelters may be able to provide some supplies, but not all. Remember to also take cash, identification and any prescription medicines (ask your health-care provider or pharmacist about storing these in your kit).
Also keep an emergency kit in your vehicle and at work.
Sheltering-in-place means taking shelter where you are if an incident makes it unsafe to go outside. How to shelter-in-place – for example, going to the safest room – can vary by the type of emergency. How long you should shelter-in-place also depends. In general, stay until authorities say it’s safe to leave.
Shelter-in-place means selecting a small, interior room, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there. It offers you and your family immediate protection for a short time in your home [or business].
For more specific information, try one of these sites on the Internet.
There may be situations when it’s best to stay where you are to avoid any uncertainty outside. There are other circumstances, such as during a tornado or a chemical incident when specifically how and where you take shelter is a matter of survival. You should understand the different threats and plan for all possibilities.
Next week, we’ll begin to discuss different types of disasters and deal with their individual options.
Marsha B. Hardy, CFM
San Saba County
500 E. Wallace # 209
San Saba, Tx. 76877