Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What to do in an evacuation situation




What to do if you only have seconds to evacuate:

If at home:

1. Alert your family members to leave the house immediately.
2. If you have family members that will need medical/physical assistance in leaving the house, assign a person(s) in the family to help them. Have a plan on how to get them out of the house quickly.
3. Grab your 72 Hour Emergency Kits and 72 Hour Emergency Family Pack, if not in your car.
4. Have one person in the family responsible for getting one of your pets, and another person for the other one. If you cannot take them with you, make sure they are secure in the house, garage or outside.
5. If time, leave a note where you are going and who is with you. (You could have a form made up ahead of time in your 72 Hour Emergency Kit, check off the family names that are with you and put down where you are going.)
6. If you can use your car, try to take one car so the family is together. If you have to take two cars this is where the Walkie Talkies in your 72 Hour Emergency Family Pack come in handy, especially if cell phones are not working and you do not have texting on your cell phones.
7. Turn on your car radio or portable radio for Emergency Evacuation instructions, following them.
8. If a Tsunami is coming, get inland and to higher ground as soon as possible.

Note: If children are at school try to get them, if not possible, the schools should be prepared for emergency situations, get them as soon as possible. If a family member is at work, try to get them also. If you cannot, have a meeting place where to meet all your family members.

At work:

1. Grab your 72 Hour Emergency Kit.
2. Leave the office building as soon as possible. If a fire, follow the building fire emergency plan. Try not to panic.
3. Do not take the elevator, take the exit stairs. Always know where all the exits are on your floor, follow the exit emergency plan on the wall if you do not know. If the lights are out in the stairway, use the flashlight in your 72 Hour Emergency Kit.
4. If you can, get to your car and leave immediately. Move as quickly as possible but safely, try not to panic, others will also be trying to get out the parking structure.
5. Turn on your car or portable radio for emergency instructions and follow them.
6. As soon as it is safe, if you have texting on your cell phone, text a family member or contact person, let them know you are ok and where you are going.

If you have several minutes (usually about 10 minutes) to evacuate:

At home:

1. Follow all the instruction above (If you only have seconds...)
Before you leave the house:
2. If time, gather all your important paper (you should have a copy of them in your 72 Hour Emergency Kit or Family Pack), which should be in a safe or fireproof metal box, family photos, things you cannot replace (family heirlooms, etc). These items should always be together in your home. If possible, have a family member assigned to a particular item, they should know this ahead of time, it should be a part of your family emergency evacuation plan.
2. Unplug all electrical equipment such as televisions, radios, computers, printers, small appliances, all electronic equipment, fish tank, etc.. Do not unplug your refrigerator and freezer unless flooding is expected.
3. If advised, turn off all utilities. First turn off each circuit break and then the main circuit breaker.
4. Turn off the water at the house main water value, turn off the washing machine hoses.
5. Only if advised, turn off the natural gas to your house. You should have a gas value shut-off wrench by the meter. Only do this is advised by the City Emergency Department, it can take days for the gas company to get out and turn the gas back on. Do not attempt to turn it back on by yourself.
6. Securely lock all doors and windows.

Remember: Have an emergency evacuation plan, practice it often with family members, and most of all STAY AS CALM AS POSSIBLE!

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