With the recent Floods and now the Tropical Cyclone I’ve been thinking lately on our home evacuation plan (Scout motto “Be Prepared”), what would we do if we had to get out quick because of a unforeseen disaster and what would we take? So here’s 5 things to include in your evacuation plan. The key to this is to be as mobile as possible which means avoiding large bulky items but for the initial evac i always work on the assumption that there will be a vehicle of some type at hand however i am also prepared for an exit on foot.
1. Documents and Papers
Even thought we are in the “Digital Age” its surprising how many official documents are paper based. Things like birth certificates, wedding certificates, deeds etc can all be replaced but can be expensive and time consuming to replace after the event. In an emergency you want something easy to transport and well protected, for that I’d suggest one of the many shallow storage tubs that you can get from just about any department store.
2. Basic Supplies
You can really go all “Tin foil hat” on this topic alone, while I dont intend to have supplies to fill a bomb shelter its important to have some stuff with you just in case it takes a while for some type of help to get to you (if you need it). While we are fortunate to have fairly good infrastructure in Australia one thing I have noticed in the recent Queensland floods is how quickly basic supplies ran out with the supply lines being cut (especially when people panic), there were even reports of a riot in one supermarket. Tinned food is probably the easiest to move and store plus has a very long shelf life- we always keep at least 5 days worth of tinned food on hand just in case. (Note by Australian law the maximum expiry date is 2 years although tin food can last a lot longer).
You can go a few weeks (even a few months) without food but water you could last a few days at best. The average human can consume a few litres of water a day (I aim for 5 myself) so having enough water on hand but still being mobile was something I put a lot of thought into. Meet the Sidewinder -it will purify 8000 Litres of water with 1 UV lamp and does not need batteries (one of the options I was looking for too) using UV water purification (that will even remove things like cryptosporidium). It takes 90 seconds to purify 1 litre and with 1 UV lamp will last a family of 4 1.8 years worth of constant use (3 litres per day each).
4. First aid
This is something that everyone should have already in the car, you can buy small car first aid kits from just about anywhere fairly cheaply. A good first aid kit should at the very least carry a range of sterile gauze’s and bandages, antiseptic cream, pain killers and tweezers all in some sort of water proof packaging. I’m also going to include a basic AM/FM radio as part of the first aid kit. While I know most people have mobile phones these days one of the first things to get knocked out during an emergency will most likely be the mobile towers.
5. Mapping and Evacuation points
People WILL panic (it’s human nature) so there’s an 80% chance we will need to move away from the city (away from the people). Of course that will change depending on circumstance. Either way – a few exit plans cannot be a bad thing, for the most part it really just means knowing your local area and the quickest way away from where you are. Obviously main roads and highways will potentially be a good place to be but not if they are full of cars also waiting to get out. The end objective is to head to a safe location well away from the danger area so you can assess what’s going on. Remember that GPS may not be a luxury you can have handy so keep a paper map at hand potentially even if your document box!