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Tips for Emergency Evacuation Planning






As I write this post, there is a lot of flooding in our area (I try to stay ahead and have posts ready to go in advance!). It's been raining for the majority of the past week across much of the area, and the ground is saturated. The rivers and streams are reaching flood stage. The news and local authorities are suggesting that people near waterways and in low-lying areas be ready to evacuate if needed.

No one wants to have to evacuate due to an emergency. Many people never consider needing to. That is a mistake.

I can remember the floods in the early 90's along the Mississippi River that caused major flooding, wiping out entire towns. My home was safe in the middle of a field, but the town where I went to school sits along whats called the Sangamon River. I remember being 10 or 11 and asking to go help fill sandbags to surround our one and only grocery store as the water crept closer and closer.

Having a plan on what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency, specifically flooding, is a good idea if you are in a flood zone or near a waterway. Other disasters, such as fire or tornadoes, require having a plan as well. but they are a little bit more unpredictable. Flooding is something you can generally know is coming, to an extent.

So, with that in mind, the local authorities recently posted this overview for residents to create a general plan in preparation for evacuation, should the water continue to rise. It's good information, and something families should consider and talk about...and something I think can be adjusted to have a plan in case of a fire or other disaster.

Take a look:

Plan Now … how you will evacuate and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate.


  • Identify several places you could go in an emergency such as a friend’s home in another town or a motel. Choose destinations in different directions so that you have options during an emergency.
  • If needed, identify a place to stay that will accept pets. Most public shelters allow only service animals while other shelters will provide separate sheltering for pets.
  • Be familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.
  • Always follow the instructions of local officials. 
  • Take your emergency supply kit.
  • Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by flooding that may cause road closures.
If time allows:
  • Secure your home by closing and locking doors and windows.
  • Unplug electrical equipment such as radios, televisions and small appliances. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding. If there is damage to your home and you are instructed to do so, shut off water, gas, and electricity before leaving.
  • Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a hat.
  • Check with neighbors who may need a ride.
Good advice from the Campbell County Office of Emergency Management!

Again, in case of a fire or tornado, some of this might not be possible or practical... for instance, DON'T take the time to get fully dressed in the best clothing possible in a fire... get out!

However, use these tips concerning planning for flooding and have a conversation also with your family about what to do and where to go in a fire, or if another disaster were to happen. Having a plan and having everyone know it can be key in crisis, and help you avoid additional stress and confusion looking for a loved one if the worst were to happen.

And, while I pray that it doesn't for any of us, I also look around and realize that it can. So, have a plan!

Additionally, here is a site you can go to if you need help creating an emergency plan for your family: https://www.ready.gov


~DK


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