Yesterday, I opened my local newspaper to see devastating pictures of flooding in southern Utah.
And not too long ago, flooding in the same area took the lives of 13 people traveling together when their vehicles were swept off the road.
Of course, it’s not just southern Utah dealing with flooding.
Louisiana is experiencing the worst flooding since Hurricane Sandy. Over 40,000 homes have been damaged, forcing people to move to vastly overcrowded shelters.
Hopefully, you and your family are safe and unaffected by the flooding. But no matter where you live, there are any number of natural disasters that could displace you — from flooding to forest fires to tornadoes — and you need to be prepared to flee your home quickly if one of these disasters occurs.
I realize there isn’t always an advance warning. But far too often, you hear stories of people who were repeatedly warned to evacuate, yet they ignored all of the warnings.
Don’t be one of those people.
Be ready to leave your home, and leave your home fast. In an emergency situation, I believe everyone ought to be able to evacuate from their home in 10 minutes or less.
Because if a forest fire is barreling down a mountain, 10 minutes might be all the time you have. And what if looting and rioting have broken out and you see on TV that trouble is headed for your neighborhood?
Whatever the case may be, if you’re not prepared to leave in 10 minutes or less, it may cost your life or the life of a family member.
So here’s my personal plan for evacuating in less than 10 minutes. You’ll notice the plan is straightforward, which is exactly how it should be in an emergency. You can adapt this plan to your own family, but remember to keep it simple:
- Step 1 — Delegate everyone’s roles and responsibilities ahead of time. For example, I know I’m in charge of getting the 72-hour kits, water and all of the gear into the car. My wife is in charge of getting our three kids into the car
- Step 2 — Have your 72-hour kits already assembled and easily accessible. You can buy a generic 72-hour kit online and then add extra personal items such as clothes and medications. And don’t forget water. Even though most 72-hour kits come with water, I always like to bring extra. So right next to my 72-hour kits, I have a 7-gallon jug of water I can grab and throw in the car
- Step 3 — Put all of your important documents on an encrypted USB drive. I use one made by a company called IronKey, but if you do an internet search for “encrypted USB drive,” you’ll see several options. Put copies of your driver’s license, passport, bank accounts, stock accounts and other important information on this drive
- Step 4 — At least one of your cars should have at least half a tank of gas at all times. If you have to flee your home, you may have to drive a long distance — or you might spend time stuck in traffic — and you certainly don’t want to run out of gas.
See? Rather simple. With just a little bit of preparation, you can leave your home quickly and have several days of food and water on which to survive.
And if you’re feeling adventurous once you’ve assembled the items above, do a dry run. If you’ve made the proper arrangements, you shouldn’t have any problem getting out of your house in under 10 minutes.
And resist the temptation to grab other items that you don’t need. Material possessions can be replaced. You can’t be.