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Evacuation Basics in an Emergency

Your family may not be together if and when disaster strikes, so it’s a good idea to plan how you will contact one another and what each of you should do in different situations. Often, in emergencies, local phone circuits are overwhelmed with calls while long distance circuits are readily available. It may be wise to designate a friend or relative who lives out-of-state as the one each family member will call in the event local service is overloaded or down altogether.

Plan in advance how you will assemble your family. Take into account all of the routine away-from-home places that apply to your family’s lifestyle, including work, school, sporting events, hobbies, church activities, etc. Detail what each family member should do and where you will try and meet under as many circumstances as you can imagine.

Anticipate where you will go. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency. If you are ordered to evacuate your home, take your emergency supply kit with you, arm your security system, lock the door, and leave. The one thing to be prepared for in the event of an evacuation — whether required by officials or voluntary — is that there are going to be a lot of other families doing the same thing. Tension levels will be off-the-chart for most people. The roadways will be crowded — and the phrase road-rage won’t even begin to describe the hair-triggered fits of temper that are typical of people who are afraid, confused, angry and on-the-run — perhaps for their lives, in their opinion whether it’s true or not.

If you know alternate routes out of the area, you might want to use them instead of the major travel arteries which will be overcrowded and slow moving.

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