How’s Your Go-Bag?
It's been a while since we got a good shot from a hurricane, Ike and the Big Twins: Rita and Katrina. So evacuation isn't something the mass has had to consider in some time. Children born nine months after Hurricane Ike are in second grade now. Kids born after Rita are playing little league sports in middle school.
And what is evacuation anyway? It is notice that you're going camping, somewhere not yet identified, in one hour from now! so it's all your camping gear plus every personal possession you think you can't live without. leave in one hour, plus all your kids stuff and the stuff they can't part with and..Now.
if God has decided we're back in the hurricane business along the Gulf Coast then while we're waiting to see how Harvey 'breaks' over the weekend (and dang this is a long time to have to deal with a hurricane, I've already eaten a tad more than half my hurricane snacks) we need to review some evacuation basics.
Evacuation Basics -
Make a few presumptions - others are thinking of some of the same places to go as you are. Think of a different approach; text that cousin you haven't seen in years and see whether their couch is an option. Family and friends away from the coast are the first best choice, followed by hotels motels and campgrounds. When talking to motels take notice about their pet policy as some only allow service animals. You can offer to camp in your relatives yard a few nights if their home is cramped, take note of the relatives pet policies also. Try to avoid riding it out in a parking lot in your vehicle, but in Rita we saw some of that too.
Preferably you've already made these preparations days or weeks in advance, but even if you start now you're at least on your way. Get a piece of paper and start a checklist, keep it in the bag(s) add and subtract from it periodically.
Remember this bag isn't to be 'unpacked' after the storm - this stays in ready to go condition and should be periodically checked and inventoried, subtracted from and added to.
Medicines - especially those that keep you or family members alive - take advance time and get refills, or two-four weeks worth. Keep them together and where you can quickly reach what's needed quickly. You'll also want a basic First Aid kit, band aids, antibiotic ointments, etc., and depending on your comfort level up to and including more advanced procedures such as suturing and so on.
Basic Toiletries - You may end up going for days without a shower or bath, you'll want to be equipped at the first opportunity to take care of those necessities. Carry the basics. Remember these items are not for daily use for for emergency evacuation situations.
Pack items in freezer size zip lock bags that can conserve space and keep your things dry in a flood situation. Put the heaviest things at the bottom of the bag to keep it stable.
Check The Car - You can have the greatest Go-Bag but if the car won't start you're stuck. Naturally when notice of a situation goes up, fill up the tank. Check your jumper cables and get some if you don't have any. A phone charger that stays in the car is a good idea and a road flare kit that usually comes with a reflective triangle. If you don't own a car or don't drive make arrangements in advance if possible for transportation.
While you're filling up the tank you'll check under your hood, oil levels, windshield wiper fluid, power steering, brakes, spare tire,etc., clueless? Get a fill up at a full service station or have your trusted mechanic check it for you.
Don't forget items like mosquito spray and lots of extra socks. It's a good idea to keep an old fashioned road atlas in your car if possible. In some emergencies information about routes and directions may not be available on the phone and you'll want to conserve your batteries for actual communications with family and friends and storm information.
Pet Supplies - Make a bag for each pet if necessary, try to avoid leaving your pet at the peril of a storm or other catastrophic event.
Communications Plan - A time or place family members will meet if you somehow become separated in a storm surge, etc., Code words to communicate with each other for identification in case your wallet or purse are lost, and so in a time of duress you can't be fooled by a strangers voice.
Photographs and Keepsakes - Remember the above items address your life, these will address your heart but when decision time comes down your Life is of greater importance. Keeping weight and your travelling space limits in mind make the choices of what you may keep. One benefit of 21st century technology is we can at least scan our photos and important papers and have a digital copy.
Use common sense and remember you'll have limited space in transport and where ever you go. Think of it as camping, make it an adventure if you reasonably can, bring old fashioned board and card games, checkers, and dominoes to keep your minds busy and conserve phone batteries for communications and information.