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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Preparing and Evacuation List for your Home

 Evacuation Lists - What would/should you bring if you needed to leave your home??

It's been a long summer and into fall, with upheaval and unrest unlike anything most of use have ever seen.  I haven't  posted a lot during this time, because this blog is about preparation and the time of preparation is past in regards to a pandemic and quarantine.  

We have lived and breathed it (albeit through masks...) for the last 5 months!  It certainly gave us a good test to see what we were prepared for and what we need to do to prepare more for the future.

Fires and Evacuations

Fires and evacuations are the big story now, and as of last night, I have a fire very close to my home.  I've always felt relieved that I live "inside" a city, rather on the outskirts near forests or grasslands that might burn.  

However, the news from Oregon, Washington and California right now is that no place is being spared.  Large cities, small cities, forests...they are all burning.  We must be prepared to leave our home if the situation arises to do so.

Wildfire updates: Fire above Battle Creek Canyon in Pleasant Grove  estimated at 20-50 acres |
Fire above Pleasant Grove, Ut last night

Normalcy Bias and what it does to our thinking...

One of the most poignant stories I ever read was about a man and his reaction during the Malibu California fires.  His home was in the line of the fire, and he was given 3 hours to gather his things and evacuate.  

In the stress and unbelief of the situation, he spent most of the time pacing back in forth in front of his TV, watching CNN.  He was sure there was no way HIS home would burn.  It never had happened before - the fires had turned, they had been extinguished, and certainly the same thing would happen this time.  

Unfortunately, they didn't turn and the flames were nearly upon him before he realized it was too late.  He was able to grab his pets, his keys and jump in the car to flee to safety.  He had 3 hours and he wasted it all in unbelief.

It's called "normalcy bias".  Our ingrained belief that things will happen the way  they always have.  Well, this year has certainly taught us something different.  We can not expect things to happen as they always have, and in fact, should PLAN for them not to.

An Insight Into the Concept of Normalcy Bias in Psychology - Psychologenie
Normalcy Bias

How do you overcome this normalcy bias?  By being PREPARED.

Creating an evacuation list

Think about the following four questions when preparing your list: 

  • What would you need to start over if everything was destroyed? 
  • What would you need to survive a few days or a week? 
  • What is important to you? 
  • What can you fit in your evacuation vehicle?

Video from the Stake on creating an Evacuation List

There is a simple activity every home should do.  

  1. Take a clip board with five blank pieces of paper labeled 5 min; 30 min; 2 hrs.; 12 hrs.
  2. Walk through every room in your home noting what things in that room you would need to grab if you had to evacuate.  
  3. List for every evacuation time frame- in the kitchen, if I had 5 minutes what would I grab?  If I had 12 hrs, what would I pack?  Those are very different lists.
  4. Gather this info and make organized lists for each length of evacuation - one list for 5 minutes, one list for 30 minutes, etc.
  5. Have a meeting with you family, brainstorm to see if there are other ideas of what to put on the list,  and explain what the lists are and when/how you would use them.
  6. Put the lists together and remember, if you have a 30 min evacuation time, you take everything from BOTH the 5 min list and the 30 minute list.  
  7. Make multiple copies and put them in central areas in your home - ours are in the kitchen, the bedroom near our safe, in the garage and in the store room where our 72  hour kits are stored.

Some example lists:(Modified from

 Evacuation time 5 Minutes 

  • Wallet or purse 
  • Car/house keys 
  • Cell phone, charger & car charger 
  • Adequate clothing for the weather conditions 
  • Prescriptions 
  • Extra contacts or glasses 
  • Medical devices (wheel chair, hearing aid, retainer, etc.) 
  • Laptop or backup disks 
  • Computer CPU 
  • Important documents (should already be in one container) 
  • 72 Hour kit with water/food/clothes/toiletries/ 
  • Family photo CD's/money, etc. 
  • Baby bag with extra food/formula 
  • Pet food, water & dish 
  • Pet leash (need this to walk dog or for shelters) 
  • Pet carrier 
Evacuation time 30 Minutes (take these PLUS the 5 minute list) 

  •  Photo albums, family portraits, preferably on flash drive 
  • Case of bottled water 
  • Sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, towels. 
  • Tent 
  • Extra batteries 
  • Battery powered TV/radio 
  • More clothes 
  • Toys, activities to keep kids occupied 
  • Kids memory things 

We have seen and heard of disasters in our area over the last several weeks which should make the usefulness of this guidance clear. I am sure many wished they had put together such a plan, so Be Prepared.

Here are some sources for already made lists to give you ideas:

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