Before Evacuation

Semper Paratus – Always Ready

This Latin phrase is most well known as the motto and the official marching tune for the United States Coast Guard. Perhaps it should become the motto of the emergency preparedness and food storage specialists as well. In the September issue we discussed the basic needs of preparedness. This month, we will continue this conversation beginning with what to do when we have to evacuate. What reasons would cause you to leave your shelter? Make your list of top 10.

When Sheltering in Place is Not Possible

When sheltering in place is not possible and you know you must go, there are some steps to take to secure and minimize future damage to your property.

Assuming that you have already prepared your evacuation kits (each family member has one), often referred to as “bug out bags,” get them into your escape vehicle, which you NEVER , EVER let the gas tank drop below half full.

Identify where you are going, get the address, and look at your maps to determine alternate routes to the shelter before you get on the road. Take the maps with you.

Remember to take your stash of cash. Hopefully, you have small bills and some coins, too, in case you need to have exact change in vending machines.

Grab your important papers, including emergency contact telephone numbers, extra glasses, medicines and any supplies for children and pets. And don’t forget to pack the children and pets.

Secure the following items:

  • Find your main electric breaker and turn off the main power switch.
  • If you have city water, find your water meter. The shut off valve will be there. This can be a handle (move it perpendicular to the pipe) or a knob (turn it clockwise to close). If you have a well, shutting off the electric will suffice.
  • Turn off any natural gas valve. This will be at the gas meter. May need a wrench.
  • Secure outdoor furniture so they do not become missiles.
  • Lock all doors and windows.

October 2013, Every Needful Thing                                 Billie A. Nicholson

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