Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Preparing for Evacuation

Parts of Colorado often have wildfires and also flash floods. There are times that the government will call for mandatory evacuations. There are things you can do before hand to increase the chances of your own and your homes survival.

Before a wildfire you need to do some firescaping. There are some pretty common sense things you can do to prepare your home for a wildfire, clear a fire break around the house, trim trees and brush so the fire can't crown easily. Coat the house with fire-resistant materials like Barricade Fire Gel or build it will fire-resistant materials like tile and stucco. Do not use dried out cedar shakes for roofing material. Cover the windows, Glass is not much of an insulator and houses have gone up in flames from the inside as the sofa in front of the window burst into flames.

Something that just makes me sad are the Darwin Award aspirants, they ignore the evacuation order wanting to ride it out. Why? Do they actually think the authorities call for evacuations for fun, hardly, evacuation orders are very expensive as they need to call and visit every house in the zone often more then once. That costs serious money. Sure there have been times that evacuations were ordered and nothing happened to your place but that doesn't make it a false alarm, if the houses down the road got burned, the fire just missed your place for some reason. If you get trapped its your fault not theirs, so don't expect to get a rescue because the fire might just be in the way. There is no Scotty to "beam you out," you will probably die. If you feel the need to leave, leave, no matter what anyone else tells you.

You often have days of warning so backing up your computers and leaving the disk at work or somewhere is a good idea.

Wildfires, hurricanes and volcanos are all of a class of disasters that give warning often days in advance and that you can get away from. If you feel the need to leave, grab your stuff and go. Actually, since you often have hours if not days to get ready you can pack the car with more then your 72 hr kit.
So what should you take
Important documents
evacuation kits
items of value, jewelry, art, &etc.
items of sentimental value: photos, objects
also shut down utilities to the house, if requested. You know where the shutoff points are and have the tools, right?

But where are they all? Well, make a list of all the things you would take if you have to that would fit in the car. List what the item is and where it is, that makes the evacuation process go a lot easier. When you are under the stress of a disaster you'll forget things, if you have a list made up beforehand when times are good you'll get it just fine. Put the list in your BOB and then you're ready.