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Creating a Culture of Self-Reliance Step 16

Step 16: This is the first of the challenge weeks. This week you will be “forced” to evacuate.

It is important to practice this skill for several reasons.

1. Studies have shown those who think thru a disaster are far more likely to survive and thrive during and following the event. Those who have not prepared in this way often get stuck, staring at their supplies and still not able to move forward to solve the problems they are facing.

2. Working thru a challenge before it occurs helps everyone, but especially children feel safe and protected. If a child hears a news report about a family who was forced to evacuate, they will think, we can handle that instead of worrying about it happening to them.

3. A practice run will enable you to understand what you may have forgotten. For example, did everyone remember to grab their glasses?

4. Practicing helps you understand what is realistic to have on the list and what is not. I always recommend planning to take all the vehicles you can. If you have two drivers in your family and two cars take both. If you have three cars and two drivers take the two most valuable.

Several years ago I interviewed a woman who had to evacuate due to a wildfire. She loaded her heirlooms and computer and other important papers and then had no room for her dogs. She unloaded the heirlooms, took the dogs and evacuated. She lost her home and all the boxes she was forced to leave behind. If you have practiced and lack room now is the time to know that and reprioritize your list of items to take and/or purchase a roof rack for the car.

Time for the evacuation drill:

Ask a friend to call and tell you there is a fire coming and you have 15 minutes to evacuate.

Let the family know, set a timer, put your plan in motion and instruct everyone to check the list and to place the things they are responsible for in the car.

When the timer goes off everyone heads to the car with whatever they have in their hands.

Drive to the home of a friend or family member. After a short visit go home, empty the car into the family room and evaluate your readiness. What did you forget? What items on the list were not to be found and thus not taken.

For an even better assessment of your readiness check into a hotel and take everything you collected to your room. You must live with those things and not visit a store for the night and next day.

As always this should be fun as well as educational so top off the experience with a favorite treat.

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