Preparing for Evacuation


Picture this:  you’ve just been told you have 30 minutes to evacuate.  You may become a bit confused as to what, exactly, you should take with you. I know I would.  With the fires blazing in our province, and an entire city of almost 80,000 evacuated, this issue is top of mind for myself.

When you aren’t under a state of evacuation, prepare as much as possible “just in case”.  I’m not suggesting becoming one of those “preppers” we read about who have storehouses full of items, but merely putting together as much of an evacuation kit as possible when you aren’t in panic mode.

Things to Do in Advance:

1.  Make copies of your important documents such as your will, your insurance (particularly your home insurance in case you lose your home), a couple utility bills, and your mortgage. Store in a fire proof safe or in an off site location such as a safety deposit box.

2. Remove some cash from your bank in advance, and store with your important documents in your safe/safety deposit box. (Remember to bring the fire proof safe).

3. Go through your home – remember this is happening before you need to evacuate – and find any mementos or photographs you wish to keep.  Place in a duffle bag.

4.  Back up onto a jump drive or external hard drive, any critical documents or photographs that are on your computer or laptop. Place the jump drive in your safety deposit box.

5.  Ensure that your contacts list in your phone is updated.

6.  If you have enough clothes and toiletries that you won’t run short, pack a few days worth of clothes and necessary toiletries in the duffle bag.

7.  Do not forget any critical medications you may need. You may also wish to pack a first aid kit and bring some painkillers.

8.  You may even wish to place a small pillow and blanket in your duffle bag, along with a pair of earplugs. This will help with a bit of comfort and noise reduction, in case you are evacuated to a shelter. You may wish to consider bringing a tent (weather permitting) in case shelters are full.

9.  If you have pets, know where your pet carrier is so you can grab it quickly. Store a few cans of pet food in the carrier along with a dish for water.

10. Food and water.  Dried goods such as granola bars, nuts, beef jerky, dried fruit, instant coffee, tea, sugar, canned tuna, ichiban noodles, and canned fruits and vegetables can be packed in advance. This may not be haute cuisine, but it will keep you alive. Don’t forget the can opener, plastic forks and plates.   Pre-purchase bottled water.

Store all of these items in one location. Ensure you take your  passports, and any other government-issued ID, and all your bank and credit cards.

This article was also published on my LinkedIn profile.