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How to Prepare For an Evacuation

You may be forced to evacuate due to a variety of emergencies. In some cases, you may have a day or two to prepare, whereas in others, an immediate evacuation is required. Planning is essential to ensuring that you can evacuate quickly and safely regardless of the circumstances. If you find yourself in this situation, consider the following advice.

Have some good shoes right away. Many people claim they were unprepared to walk out or back through the debris left by their disaster. There may be no stores left to buy shoes from, or the stores may sell out quickly.

Money: There will be no way to confirm the existence of funds in your account following a natural disaster. Local banks may be unable to provide services for days, weeks, or months as corporations dig out and rebuild. ATMs will quickly run out of cash, and there will be no employees to replenish them. If you find food, clothing, or gas for sale, you must pay in cash or you will be out of luck. Save a few hundred dollars for the big event. This should be done in small bills and coins. Never carry all of your cash in one place, and don't show anyone that you have more than a few hundred dollars. Many people are trustworthy, helpful, and honest, but it only takes one dishonest person to hold you up and steal your money.

Bring your own toiletries when you evacuate. When you go to a hotel, you may not think it's necessary, but their resources are limited. During an emergency, families may be forced to share a room with friends or large groups of people, or they may be limited to one room. You should have a good 72-hour kit, so you won't have to think about it too much when packing to evacuate. Keep toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, and diapers on hand.

Medications. If you take prescription medications, you may be without them for several days or longer. Local pharmacies will not be prepared to service the large number of new customers that will be required. To fill orders, a national chain may not have access to computer records. If your prescription has no refills left and/or you normally purchase your medications from a small pharmacy, you will need to have your prescription rewritten. Good luck in your search for a doctor! If you can get a month's supply of your prescriptions, do it now and never leave the house without them. If you wear glasses, you can get a copy from your optometrist. If you wear glasses, request a copy of your prescription from your optometrist to include in your 72-hour kit.

Make plans for the sick. If anyone has a medical emergency, never stay at home during an evacuation warning. If you have someone on oxygen, you will require a continuous supply of electricity. Even a generator will eventually run out of gas, leaving you stranded. If you have a family member with a weakened immune system, even the smallest cut in contact with contaminated water can be fatal.

Families have been split up. Please evacuate if instructed to do so. Never, under any circumstances, allow yourself to be separated from family members. Always have an out-of-state contact that everyone in the family knows to call in case the worst happens. That phone number should be memorized by everyone. Although phone service may not be available for a few days, everyone should check in with that person as frequently and as soon as possible. Every teen and adult should have a phone card on hand in case of an emergency.


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