The Do 1 Thing site won the Awareness to Action category of FEMA’s 2014 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards. It’s a 12-month program of small steps that you can take to increase your personal and household preparedness. Throughout 2015, DEM will feature Do 1 Thing items during our weekly blog post series of One Thing Wednesdays. Check back here every week for a new preparedness activity or tip!
Continuing with this month’s theme of planning, today’s topic is your family’s evacuation plan.
Choose two places for your family to meet. One should be just outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire, that’s restricted to your property. The other should be outside of your neighborhood, in case you can’t return home or need to evacuate the area.
Decide where you would go and what route you would use. If an emergency lasts overnight or longer, you may choose to go to a hotel, stay with friends or family in a safe location, or go to a shelter. Hold evacuation drills at home to practice getting out of the house quickly. Walk, bike, or drive your planned evacuation route and learn how long it takes – especially in heavy traffic or bad weather. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll be if you really have to evacuate.
Plan ahead for your pets. Due to health concerns, the American Red Cross does not allow pets in its shelters (though some Red Cross chapters partner with animal rescue organizations to open separate pet shelters nearby). Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters on your evacuation route in case no designated pet shelter is available. Contact your local humane society or animal shelter to ask if pet emergency shelters will be opened in a disaster.