Imagine a typical evening at home. You’re sitting in the living room, watching television. Your spouse is in the kitchen cooking dinner. Your daughter is in her room, surfing the internet. Your son is down the block at a friend’s house. The dog is in the backyard. Everything is as peaceful as it can be.
BAM! BAM! There’s a knock on the door. When you answer it you find a police officer on the other side. He tells you there has been a terrible train accident a few miles to the south. A dangerous chemical has spilled and you must evacuate in the next fifteen minutes. Take only what you need for the next three days.
By now, your mind is racing. Part of you is still trying to process what you just heard, and another is telling you to move fast. You’ve never had to deal with a situation like this before. What do you take with you? How do you explain what’s going on to your family? How do you contact your son at his friend’s house? Do you take the dog, or leave him behind? What about the family pictures? Will you ever be allowed to come back?
This is a horrifying scenario, and the very reason every family should have an evacuation plan. The plan should include pre-staged bags, filled with supplies. Each person in the house should have a bag that includes at least one change of clothes, and basic supplies, like hygiene products, bottled water, and ration bars. These will complement a larger, family emergency kit. Also include a kit for your pet if you have one. And don’t forget to keep your important documents handy. An ounce of preparation now will save you a gallon of panic later.
By Jason M. Watts (Contributing Writer to 1800prepare.com)