Disaster Preparedness Week - Day 5

Day 5 - Evacuation Routes

Welcome to Day 5 of Disaster Preparedness Week! When disaster strikes, you have two options. First is to shelter in place. This means you stay in your current location and seek shelter in a secure location. The second option is to evacuate. If you do have to evacuate, you do not want to waste time deciding where to go. This is where having a plan becomes essential.

Depending on where you live, you need to know the most efficient evacuation routes for the most likely emergency scenarios. Here are a few common scenarios that will help you to think about what disasters may affect you and how you may want to react.

  • If you are on a coast, how will you find high ground in the case of a tsunami?
  • If you are in the path of Hurricanes, how will you get inland?
  • If there are trees around you (even in a city), what are the different roads that will get you out of town fast?
  • You receive a flood warning, where are you most safe?
  • You get an alert of a tornado warning, where is the nearest shelter?

Download your Evacuation Route Worksheet.

This also goes for your home as well. It is a good idea to map out your escape routes in your home and walk through them as a family so that everyone knows where to go. You will also want to define where all of your emergency items are stored.

  • What are the two evacuation routes for each room of your home?
  • Where are your fire extinguishers?
  • Where is your emergency kit? This should be the same location as:
    • Communication Plan (Day 1)
    • Personal Go-Bag (Day 2)
    • Medicine and Prescriptions (Day 4)
    • Bag for Special Needs, Children, and Pets (Day 6)
  • Do you have your papers and important documents (Day 3) in a safe? If so, where is it?

Physically walking through the different evacuation routes in your home may sound silly but it has been found that people will exit a location the same way they went in, even if it is not the shortest route out of the building. You come in through the front door. When your flight instinct kicks in your will try to leave through the front door, even if the back door is closer. This is why practice is key. Walking through your plan sets the routes in your mind so that when the time comes you follow your plan.

If you have not completed day 4, do that here.