Everything You Need on Your Community Evacuation Checklist
How ready are you when emergencies strike your home and community? Many kinds of emergencies can force you to abandon your property. While there are times when you’d have a day or two to prepare, other circumstances may require you to evacuate immediately.
A solid community emergency evacuation plan is the best move to prevent panic during emergent situations. But note that even if your area has an emergency team, it may take them longer to reach you. This is why you need to be personally equipped to face a range of emergencies.
Before a mandatory evacuation is declared, you should learn how to evacuate yourself and your family safely. Discover what you must do to prepare against a potential disaster that requires evacuation, whether at an individual or community level.
What Is a Community Evacuation Plan, and Why Do You Need One?
Emergencies strike without warning. When they do, there may not be enough time to gather essentials and plan your evacuation.
There’s no way to fully ease stress during an emergency. But with proper preparations, everyone in the family and community can get to safety without making further missteps.
Handling an evacuation with confidence in any emergency boils down to having everything in place. This is where a community evacuation plan comes into play. It’s a community-wide effort to ensure the protection of people, property, and the environment in case of an emergency.
Planning for the safety of your family members is difficult enough. So why should you concern yourself about your community evacuation plan? It will give you information about the agencies or offices you should contact during or after a wildfire, flood, earthquake, fire, or emergency.
Besides an emergency contact, the plan will guide you through the primary and alternate routes you should take when leaving your area. It will also be a valuable tool in complementing the work of your local emergency responders and reducing the emergency’s impact on your community.
What You Need in a Community Emergency Evacuation Plan
Establishing procedures is essential for ensuring efficient and coordinated evacuation operations in your community. It can help people move safely through an emergency and minimize its impact.
You can modify your emergency evacuation plan better to suit the needs of your home and community. But regardless of what they are, the following are crucial things to consider for all homes, communities, and evacuations.
Conditions That Require Evacuation
Evacuation is necessary when a property or area conditions suddenly threaten health, life, and safety. While many settings can put you in urgent situations, not all of them need immediate evacuation. Remember that in any emergency, local authorities may or may not be able to provide information on what you must do promptly.
That’s why it’s critical to specify the conditions that require leaving the premises quickly and safely on your plan. It should also identify when and how you will respond to different emergencies.
Provisions for Shelter
Depending on the situation and type of emergency, staying indoors is sometimes safer to minimize exposure to outside conditions. Ensure to include a provision that determines when it’s not safe for your community and family members to go outside.
Radioactive releases, weather-related emergencies, or criminal activities are some circumstances where shelter would be necessary. When considering shelter-in-place, it’s important to monitor news reports for available reports and official instructions.
Emergency Chain of Command
All types of evacuations need a coordination framework. Who is in charge of assessing the emergency and whether it requires an evacuation? Who are the key emergency contacts? Who is responsible for notifying and coordinating with outside emergency services?
This is where developing an emergency chain of command comes in handy. A designated person and backup coordinator should activate emergency procedures or issue an evacuation order. Everyone in the chain of command must understand the responsibilities and be fully equipped to make informed decisions during emergencies.
Detailed Emergency Evacuation Plan Procedures
Providing detailed procedures for your emergency evacuation plan is also necessary. What steps should you take, whether the emergency requires evacuation or shelter-in-place? You may consider the following factors when mapping out your evacuation procedures:
- Is everyone required to gather at a specific meeting place within your property before evacuating?
- What are the evacuation routes and exits on your premises?
- Where are your evacuation destinations, and what are the primary and backup paths to get there?
- What systems are in place to ensure everyone is accounted for and successfully evacuated?
Assistance for People With Disabilities, Access, or Functional Needs
Evacuation of people with disabilities, access, or functional needs should be prioritized in all emergencies. Identify their specific needs and how your emergency plan can address them. Do they need medical support, transportation, or other kinds of assistance? Consider everyone in your planning and identify partners in your community who can assist and meet their needs.
Access to Special Equipment for Emergency Evacuation Plan
Some emergencies require special equipment like evacuation chair models to facilitate a safe evacuation. Ensure your evacuation plan determines what tools and machinery are essential during a disaster. Also, identify the people in your family or community capable and willing to operate them during an unexpected and urgent situation.
How To Prepare an Effective Community Evacuation Plan
Establishing and implementing an evacuation plan can be overwhelming. Here’s a checklist you can tick off when planning for an emergency.
Arrange Your Evacuation Beforehand
There’s no way to foresee when an emergency will strike, and you may only have minutes to evacuate. It’s crucial to arrange your evacuation plan beforehand and share them with your family and community members. Identify specific locations where you can safely evacuate. Ensure you have a copy of the phone numbers and addresses necessary for these situations.
Put Together an Emergency Kit
An emergency supply kit is a great way to have everything you need when you need to evacuate quickly. It’s a go-bag containing valuables that will help you survive any untoward incidents. A basic emergency kit may include:
- A change of clothing
- Prescriptive medications and essential over-the-counter medicines
- Bottled water/snacks
- Flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Non-perishable food
- Cell phone, charger
You can add more items to your go-bag depending on your needs and your family’s. If you’re with an infant, elderly, or a pet, you may consider adding the following:
- Denture needs and hearing aid batteries
- Formula, diapers, bottles
- Pet food, collar with ID tag, leashes, and pet carrier
Make a Home Inventory
If you’re a homeowner, making a home inventory in case of any emergency would be beneficial. Any disaster can have a significant impact on your finances. So having a current inventory of your possessions may help you with any potential insurance claims. Regardless of your insurance policies, the insurance company will likely request a list of damaged items and their value.
Secure Important Documents
Ensuring all your essential documents are in the safest place is also necessary. Unfortunately, these papers are among the things most people forget during an emergency evacuation. Below are vital documents you need to duplicate and keep in a safe place:
- The deed to your house
- Proof of insurance
- Medical records
- Social security cards
- A list of personal contacts
Besides completing your evacuation checklist, it’s also a good idea to practice your evacuation plan at home or in the community to ensure adequate emergency preparedness.
Disaster readiness will help ensure the safety of your family. A solid emergency evacuation plan is the best way to handle potential catastrophic events.
Equip Your Property With the Right Evacuation Equipment
There’s no way to prevent an emergency, whether man-made or natural disasters. They may even come when you least expect them. Fortunately, your family and community can be more prepared and resilient in any emergency with proactive planning.
If you’re in high-rise buildings, it’s also great to equip your property with emergency evacuation chairs or any equipment that could help safely expedite evacuation. Contact Evacuscape today to ensure a safer and better-prepared environment for your family and community.
Equip your property with an evacuation transit chair to transport individuals with mobility challenges safely. Visit Evacuscape to learn more today!
FAQs on Everything You Need on Your Community Evacuation Checklist
How do you prepare a community for a disaster?
Emergency responders and residents must work together to prepare a community for a disaster. The best way to be ready is to equip everyone with the community’s warning systems, evacuation routes, and procedures.
What are the basic components of an emergency evacuation plan?
An emergency evacuation plan must include the following essential components:
- Coordination and communication
- Training and drills
- Technology and Safety Equipment
How can you gather a group of people for evacuation?
An effective mass communication system will come in handy when gathering a group for evacuation. It allows you to notify citizens of any emergency in your community via email, text message, or voicemail. Ensure to work with your local emergency team to encourage everyone to sign up for your community’s notification system.