Would your family be ready to evacuate if necessary?
- What would you grab if you had a full day’s warning?
- What would you grab if you had 30 minutes warning?
- What if you had 10 minutes warning?
- What if you only had moments?
- Where will you go if only your home is affected?
- Where will you go if only your immediate area is affected?
- Where will you go if your area and hundreds of miles around are affected?
- How will you gather all your family members?
- Where will you gather all your family members?
- How will you communicate with local and long-distance family members?
Create Your Evacuation Checklist
Having a pre-made evacuation checklist allows you to DO without THINKING when asked to evacuate. It will help you avoid panic and overwhelm and ensure you won’t forget anything important. Here is how to create one:
First, sit down with all the adults and teenage children in your home. Create a list of everything you’d want to take with you if you had a full day’s warning to evacuate and could do so in your car. Also, include things you may need to DO. Think about what you are preparing to evacuate FOR in these situations. Will you need a tent, or will you be going to your brother’s house in the next town over? Think about items that will help you take care of your family as well as sentimental items you would not want to lose if your home were destroyed.
Now, prioritize that list according to what is most important to you. Those things that are absolutely essential to grab or do should be at the top. Print your evacuation checklist, post it near your doors, and put one in your grab and go binder.
Next, move any items that you can (pictures, hard drives, extra keys, grab and go/important documents binder, water, books, tents, 72-hour kits, etc.) near an exit to make them easier to grab quickly.
Last, practice at least once to make sure you can get through everything on your evacuation checklist as quickly as possible and so you know how to fit everything in your car. Make needed adjustments. Then practice yearly.
We did this a few years ago, and it brings such peace of mind! We actually split our evacuation checklist into two: “Moments” and “Minutes or More” because we found our priorities were different depending on the time we had.
In addition, our prioritized list is split it between my husband and me. We each just start working down our list until we have to leave.
We’ve also assumed that if we had 10 minutes notice or more we would be able to leave in our van and would likely be able to get to a friend or family member’s home within a day or two. If we only had moments, it would be on foot.
Below are our lists. I’d love to hear your plans/suggestions!
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Get girls’ shoes on
Get my shoes on
Grab purse and cell
Get to a garage with girls
Get 72-hour kit on
Get outside with girls
MINUTES OR MORE
My shoes on
Kids’ shoes on
Turn on a movie for kids IN VAN (on iPad)
Jackets and winter gear in a van (if winter time)
My purse, Nathan’s wallet, keys, cell phones, and chargers in a van
External hard drive and camera in the van
Quick Meals and extra snack food in the van
A cooler filled with milk, cheese, fresh fruit and frozen water in the van
Kids’ pillows, blankies, and stuffed animals in the van
Extra clothes, diapers, and medicine in a van
Toys, coloring books, games, and crayons in van
Shut off gas and water to the house
Put 72-hour kits in the van
24 pack water bottles in a van
Family pictures/journal tub in a van
Kids keepsake boxes in a van
Firewood in van
Fishing gear in a van
Additional extra blankets in a van
Guitar in van
Favorite books in a van
You can create your own prioritized evacuation checklist on this form.
You can record your predetermined family meeting locations HERE.
A Few Notes
- If the house is in full flames, we wouldn’t worry about ANYTHING on the list except ourselves and our children.
- We keep our grab and go binder, camera and our (1 TB, but very small) external hard drive RIGHT by our garage door. We would walk right by them on our way out making it simple to grab them as we go.
- We keep our 72-hour kits in our garage.
- The reason for turning on a movie for the kids is to keep them out of the way/distracted while my husband and I run around like crazy people.
- We keep a pair of shoes near the garage AND front doors for all family members.
- All our power out supplies are in one upstairs hall closet making it easy to find and grab things.
- We keep one cooler, 24 pack water bottles, firewood, our family tent, fishing gear, and our butane stove, and quickfire stove in the garage.
- We keep (all day every day) an emergency crank powered radio, a first aid kit, mini 72-hour kit, extra blankets, an emergency road kit, snacks, a current and 3-4-year-old family photo (for ID purposes) and small bills (money) in our van.
- All of our family pictures are on our external hard drive, but we have some pictures of mine and my husband’s childhood that aren’t. (Remember the days of film??) These, along with older written journals are all in a tub in our basement.
- We also have a tub and file folder for each of our kids where we keep sentimental things for them when they get older. These are also in our basement.
- We did not list out scriptures separately as we have a copy of them on our iPads/phones.
- You can find a list of what USED to be my Grab-and-Go binder here. I’ve since started using the Prepare My Life Planner which is much better for so many reasons, but it isn’t free like the printable I provide in that post. My free folder worked for me for a long time!
There you have it! Now, go create your family’s evacuation checklist!
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