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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

If a disaster to evacuate

It’s smart to think before you act. For something as traumatic as an evacuation, preparing ahead of time can lessen your stress level and improve your state of mind.

  • Determine your most valuable belongings, pack them up and put them by the door or in the car.
  • Take your important insurance, medical and financial documents with you.
  • Fill up your escape vehicle with gas.
  • Turn off gas and water supplies at main switches and valves.
  • Secure all loose yard items such as lawn furniture, barbecue grills, trash cans and planter boxes.
  • Move more valuable items to inner rooms or, in the case of a flood, upper floors.
  • If a hurricane is approaching, you may want to board up the windows of your home with plywood.
  • Have a clear evacuation route in mind before you leave.
  • Notify your neighbors when you are leaving and where you plan to go.
  • If you do not have a vehicle, arrange a ride with a neighbor or call your local City Emergency phone number.
Heading for the exit
Okay, time to grab your kids, your pets and your most valuable items. If you’ve planned properly, the actual evacuation process should proceed with in an orderly fashion. Here’s what you should do:

  • Turn off your lights and unplug any unnecessary appliances.
  • Load up your car and get all of your family members into the vehicle as well.
  • Remember to put your disaster supply kit in the car.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors of your residence.
  • Check to make sure that you have a good, up-to-date road map.
  • Don’t forget your cell phones, which should be fully charged.
  • Take your checkbook, credit cards and cash with you.
  • Be sure that you have flashlights with extra batteries.
  • Drive away from your home at a safe speed.
Escaping a building
For many people, an office building is like a home away from home. We spend a good portion of our waking hours at work. So it’s possible that, at some point, you may get trapped in a building during a fire, an earthquake or some other disaster. Once again, the best evacuations are those done calmly and orderly. Here’s some advice that could save your life when fleeing a building.

  • Go to the nearest fire escape exit when you hear a fire alarm or see a fire.
  • If you need to descend from a higher floor, always take the stairs… never use the elevator.
  • Alert others to the possible danger as you exit the building.
  • Offer assistance to others if it does not threaten your own life.
  • If possible, as you exit avoid areas in the building that might contain chemicals or other flammables.
  • If it is a fire situation, close doors and windows behind you as you leave, as this can slow the spread of fire and smoke.
  • Follow any designated evacuation signs posted in the building.
  • Once you get outside, go immediately to an area that is safely away from the disaster site.
  • When you are safely outside, make a mental note of any people that seem to be missing and notify emergency personnel at the site.
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