It is not good to live in constant fear of a disaster but it is good to be prepared.
While the chances may be fairly slim of any of us actually witnessing a major end-of-the-world catastrophic event, we are much more likely to experience disasters such as floods, hurricanes, fires, and acts of terrorism. It is these kinds of disasters that we must prepare for.
The only time I have ever had to actually evacuate my home was two years ago after the fuse box downstairs caught fire during the night. The house was gutted and all we had left was the items that I grabbed on our way out. It was devastating, more so for my partner at the time who found it incredibly hard to overcome.
I’m not going to lie, it was scary opening the bedroom door and all I could see was thick black smoke but I kept my wits about me knowing that if I freaked, so would my partner.
When emergencies such as this happen and you get scared or stressed, thinking quickly about what you should grab is tough.
You shouldn’t have to think!
You should already have items in mind and kits at the ready. Standing around trying to think about what to take is dangerous and could get you killed. Especially when you only have a couple of minutes to get out.
That particular night I took clothing for us and the kids, photos, laptop, and a couple of other items. I was unprepared!
We had only moved into the property maybe a month before the fire and so still hadn’t completely unpacked everything.
Here are a few tips to help make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes that I did and better understand what to grab during an emergency evacuation.
These items should be kept together with your bug out bag and kept where you can easily grab them when you need to make a quick exit.
Make copies of all your important documents including medical, birth certificates, passports, insurance, credit cards, investments, passwords for your online accounts, etc. Place these into your preparedness binder and keep it in the same area as your bug out bag.
If you or a member of your family have any special medical needs such as medications that are required every day, pack up a separate kit of these medicines and any supplies that you may need in the event of an emergency. Keep this pack somewhere near an exit so that they can be grabbed when evacuating. Be sure to update the contents every 6 months and replace anything that gets used.
Just like you have your preparedness binder, it is also a good idea to make digital copies of important documents too. Scan them into your computer so you have a digital record, and email them to a family member or put them on a USB drive as a backup. Put the originals in a fire and water-proof box.
Make a video inventory of every room in your house. Clearly show all the expensive and irreplaceable items. Include your outdoor furniture and possessions, even your car(s). Update the video regularly and store a copy in a safe location. If possible, digitize and upload the video to a website as a backup. When you acquire new large purchases, take photos and add them to your inventory. This will come in useful when making an insurance claim.
Consider using an online web-based vault service. Whatever service you use, make sure the company is legitimate and that they have taken extreme precautions to ensure the security of your data. With services like this, your data is accessible 24 / 7 from any computer or device, anywhere.
If you have to evacuate quickly, you will have all of your critical information at your fingertips.
What would you add to help others become more organized should they ever need to evacuate in an emergency? Let us hear your ideas on Twitter.