Being forced to leave home is something I’d really rather not think about. But if it should ever happen, I’d definitely rather have a home evacuation checklist to help me get out. And actually, there are a lot more evacuations every year than you might think.
Here are some of the causes of people having to evacuate their homes:
- Fire, whether a house fire, a fire in a small region, or a vast forest fire
- Tornadoes or more likely their aftermath
- Earthquakes’ aftermath
- Industrial mishaps, for example, ones that release noxious gases
So in this article, I’ll come up with a very basic home evacuation plan, whether for fire or for any other emergency. In some situations, you might prefer to evacuate even if your local authorities are not telling you to. This list would be modified depending on what the crisis was and also depending on what method of transportation you were using. Do talk through this with the people you live with or family members. It’s also good to choose a contact person who lives in a different area.
I have to admit that while I do think about emergency preparedness at home, I rarely give thought to having to evacuate. The massive fire at Fort McMurray, Alberta, has been an eye-opener. As so often seems to be the case in natural disasters, you can’t assume anything about how soon you will be able to return, no matter what officials think at the time.
Keep plenty of gas in your vehicles.
A Very Basic Home Evacuation Checklist
In a very rough order of importance:
- All humans
- All dogs and cats, with leashes and/or carrying cases
- Purses and wallets, including cash, credit cards, ID, etc.
- Important papers, such as birth certificates, passports, insurance and financial things, house deed, medical records, passwords
- Phone numbers you’d need, e.g. family members, neighbors, etc.
- Laptop and plug, tablet or phones and chargers
- Water and food, for who knows how long, and including baby food or pet food if needed
- Extra clothing such as a jacket, sturdy shoes, change of clothes
- Flashlight and batteries
- Necessary meds
- Survival blanket and/or regular blanket
- Toothbrushes and other personal hygiene items
- Family photos
- Books: first aid, something to read
The National Fire Protection Association offers the sobering fact that one year recently there were over 300,000 reported home fires in the US, and almost 3,000 fatalities. Once a fire alarm goes off, the people may only have a couple of minutes to get out of a house. This site is full of information on how to prepare to evacuate your home, and it has a lot of material for children. They also have a lot of short PDF fact sheets on all aspects of fire safety.
Here is the Red Cross page for types of emergencies. Clicking on any one gives you some basic advice.
I hope you never need to know this!