What to Do When You’re Evacuating

Natural disasters can be terrifying and are definitely stressful, no matter their origin. Whether you’re facing an earthquake or fire in California, a hurricane in Florida or a tornado in Oklahoma, there’s a potential for disaster everywhere in the country.

Remember the 6 Ps of Evacuation

Remembering the 6 Ps will keep you prepared and ready to go in the event of a disaster that forces you to leave your home. This way, whether you’ve had days of notice or just a few minutes, you’ll be able to grab the important things.

  • People and pets, including items for your pets like collars, leashes, and food.

  • Papers, including copies of your driver's license, the deed to your house, proof of insurance, medical records, passports, social security cards and a list of personal contacts

  • Prescriptions, medication, and eyeglasses

  • Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia.

  • Personal Computers (information on hard drives & disks)

  • Plastic (credit cards, ATM cards, & cash)

The main idea with the 6 Ps is that you are taking all of the items that you cannot live without, and the items that would be impossible or difficult to replace.

Prepare a Go-Bag

What is a go-bag? It’s a bag or box that is pre-packed with disaster survival items so that you can get out of your house as soon as possible. This pack should last you the 4 days following a disaster and it’s applicable to most emergencies.

What you should keep in the go-bag:

  • Water: keep a case of bottled water in your pack, but also include a water filter so that you can filter freshwater if you need to.

  • Non-perishable food: This should include high-protein items like protein bars, trail mix, and dried foods. We would also recommend keeping a selection of candy. This might not seem necessary, but in the middle of a disaster situation, you can use all of the sugar and reminders of home you can get.

  • First Aid Kit: Your kit should include pain killers, antiseptic, bandages, gauze, scissors, tape, splints, hand sanitizer, etc. You should also include additional medications that you take on a regular basis and extra contacts, solutions and other necessary items that you might need.

  • Radio: You might be under the impression that radios are outdated, but in the event that powerlines and cell lines are down this might be the only way for you to obtain information about the world around you. We would recommend a product like this one that acts as a radio, a cell phone charger, and a flashlight.

  • Clothes: Keep your location and climate in mind and bring only the necessities. Items like clean underwear, light jacket, a poncho, and a hat would all be useful. Don’t overpack, your go-bag should be easy to transport.

If You Have Time...

If you’re not under immediate mandatory evacuation, then there are a few things you can do around your home to prevent it from getting damaged.

Check these tasks off your list:

  • Sandbags. If you are concerned about flooding, then having a stockpile of sandbags might not be a bad idea. That way you can quickly lay them around all of the vulnerable areas of your home.

  • Utilities. Know where your utility shutoffs are and make sure they’re turned off before leaving your home. These will include water, electricity and gas shutoffs.

  • Prep your yard. This is something that should be done all year round because you never know when disaster will strike, but make sure your shrubs and trees are well maintained to prevent branches from falling on your home and keep them from turning into fuel for a fire.

For more questions about evacuations and other resources about fire and life safety visit our website or give us a call at (323) 881-3037.