prepare for evacuations

How To Prepare for Evacuations

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This is a guest post by:

Justin is a co-owner of Dynasty Preppers LLC. By day I dabble in the world of Information
Technology and by night I parent four kids. I love the outdoors and when I have free time I am
either in the woods or at the gun range.

Preparing for Evacuations

“We didn’t have a chance to react. It was here and we got
out with the clothes on our back. All of our memories, everything is gone,” Martha Grimm, California Wildfire Survivor

At times, even the most prepared can be surprised when mother nature comes into play. In
these situations, seconds matter, and having an evacuation plan in place will help to make sure
that you can quickly and easily take the most important and necessary items with you at a
moments notice. This article applies to many situations, from hurricanes to Forrest fires, and
several situations in between. When a major event like this happens time is always of the
essence. The sooner you evacuate the area the sooner you can get your family to safety, and
in the case of mass evacuations you want to leave as soon as possible so you are not stuck in
the flood of other people fleeing the area.
In this article we will cover several important items for you to have ready in case you find
yourself in a situation where you need to evacuate your primary residence. As with any plan,
you should customize the list to meet your needs and the items you deem to be important.
Make a go bag or evacuation kit containing the items so they are ready to go at a moments
notice, but remember that you and your families lives are more important, if the situation
dictates you leave immediately then do so.


This year, due to the extreme drought and weather conditions in Colorado, we have been
dealing with extreme fire conditions. As the hot temperatures continue we see more and more
fires popping up in our area. For us, in the Mountains of Colorado, Forrest Fires are the primary concern for an evacuation. You too should do your research to learn the types of
disasters that can occur in your geographic
area. For each type of disaster create a plan, as the evacuation routes and shelter plans may
change based on the type of disaster.

US Natural

Disaster Risk Map US Natural Disaster Risk Map

The maps found on our Hazard Maps page can help you determine

what natural disasters could happen in your area. Click Here to see the maps to help create your plan.

After you have determined the evacuation scenarios that are likely in your area you can start to
develop your plan. Your plan should include a list of locations you can take shelter. We prefer
to have a list in preferred order that we can use to communicate to other family members the
location we have chosen to evacuate to. Also remember during your planning that your
evacuation route may not be by car. If the roads or highways are blocked or closed, your
evacuation path may be on foot. Keep this in mind and have a plan for evacuating without a
vehicle. Remember that communications during a disaster are very likely to be disrupted, so
having a plan and a list of locations that can be easily communicated is important. Cell phone
communications may be impossible, but a text message such as “Evacuating to Area 2” has a
much higher chance of going through.
Your list of locations should include multiple towns or areas in different directions. If a disaster
is localized it is highly likely that you may not be able to use a particular road or route and will
need to choose an alternate location from the list.

Step 3 - Assemble Your


Now that you have done your research and created your evacuation plan you need to assemble
the gear that you might need during an evacuation. Assemble a “Go Bag” or Bug Out Bag that
contains necessary items. A Bug Out Bag is a bag full of essential items that you can quickly
grab in an emergency, typically placed in a central location for easy access. If you had to
quickly leave without notice you can easily take your Bug Out Bag and have essentials for at
least three days. We definitely suggest that everyone have a Bug Out Bag, but especially those
in areas that may need to evacuate quickly such as areas prone to wild fires, hurricanes,
tsunamis, tornadoes etc.

Below is an example of one of our Bug Out Bag setups with a Maxpedition Gryfalcon bag which allows for a ton of
organization options:

Some other items to consider adding to your emergency gear:


Step 4 - Test Your Plan

Now, when there is not an emergency, is the time to test your plan and see what you need to
tweak. Now I don’t mean wake up the kids with a bullhorn at 2 AM and rush everyone out of the
house, but take the time to grab your bag and take a drive down one of our evacuation routes.
Take note of any issues you have, areas along the way that may be useful, and any equipment
you might need that you forgot from your list. Areas of interest may be gas stations,
restaurants, stores or rest areas. Having a general idea of the closest gas station on your route
is a good practice, and keeping your vehicles gas tank topped off to a level in which you can
reach that gas station without a problem would also be a good idea. If you have kids, knowing
areas along the route that you can get out of the vehicle to eat or use the restroom are always
important. If you are not traveling to a set location such as a family or friends house, taking note
of areas in which you can shelter would also be important. Areas for shelter can be as simple
as a hotel, state park or campground. If you are using the latter two options then you will want
to include some type of shelter in your evacuation plan and gear, such as a tent or camper.
There are several times when we have gone to test a plan that we have modified our plan and
either added equipment or changed the evacuation route.

Step 5 - During an


Now is the time to put your planning and prepping into action. Be sure to grab everything you
put together in Section 3 above. You will want to have your list of shelter locations with you,
above all else I would avoid FEMA shelters if possible, but if all else fails you can download the
FEMA app to locate their nearest shelter. If you have
pets, take your pets with you, just be aware that only service animals may be allowed in most
shelters. Don’t wait until the last minute to evacuate, or you will be caught in the midst of the
evacuation, especially in large cities. Evacuating a larger number of people takes times, clogs
roadways, and will be very slow going. Tempers also rise in these situations, so be aware of
your surroundings. Depending on the type of event, take note of recommended evacuation
routes, as part of your established routes in your plan may be closed or already affected by the
If time allows:

  • Using your Plan you created, call, text or email your evacuation route to the
    remainder of your group using your pre-determined routes or if those routes are inaccessible
    indicate the route you will be taking. Remember that during an emergency it is highly likely that
    Cell towers will be overloaded and it will be very difficult to place a phone call. Data
    transmissions such as text messages or emails are much more likely to go through during these
  • Be sure to take all of the gear you assembled in the step above. If you know an
    evacuation is pending and could be issued soon, gather all of your gear in one location or load it
    into your mode of transportation, so you can quickly grab it and go.
  • Secure your home, locking all the doors and windows.
  • If there is a risk of flood unplug as many devices as you can or shutoff the breaker
    to the outlets. If you are instructed to do so, shutoff the gas, water and electricity before leaving.
  • Leave a copy of your evacuation plan at your house, or leave a note with your

    evacuation route, in case members of your party are separated or did not receive the notification
    of your route.

  • Always plan that your evacuation may require you to leave your vehicle if it
    becomes stranded. Always wear appropriate clothing such as sturdy shoes and protective
    clothing such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a hat. You do not want to walk over long
    distances, uneven terrain or in bad weather with your flip flops and shorts if you can avoid it.

During the evacuation, especially during any type of severe weather event, stay alert and look
for hazards on the road such as washed-out roads or bridges, flooded areas, and downed
power lines. Avoid attempting to cross flooded areas, it is very easy to become stranded and
worsen your situation.

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