This past summer I remember watching the news about the devastating fires in Colorado. Many of the people interviewed said the all too familiar “we had no idea the fire was so close to our house, we only had minutes to evacuate.” If you found yourself in their position would you be able to evacuate your home in 5 minutes or less?
The thing is, a lot of people are prepared and have food and water stored at home for sheltering in place. But I’d be willing to bet if I knocked on 100 doors and said “you’ve got 5 minutes to evacuate this house”, 99 of those people would be running around like a chicken with their heads cut off unsure of what they should grab.
And because in an emergency you’re already under a lot of stress, I have created a very simple checklist for my family that we will follow in case we have to flee our house ASAP. (The checklist lists the person’s name that is in charge of grabbing each item during the evacuation.)
Jason – 72-hour kits
Jason – Small safe that contains passports, birth certificates, cash, and other important documents.
Jason – Guns and Ammo (Both Glock 19s, AR-15. I have this ammo stored in a small Rubbermaid container that I can quickly grab.)
Jason – Jason’s clothes bag
Amanda – Baby’s bag full of diapers, wipes, formula, clothes
Amanda – Amanda’s clothes bag
Amanda – Medicine for entire family
That’s the entire checklist. It’s not meant to be a survival checklist with 79 different items. It’s meant to be a practical checklist that allows you to truly get out of your house in just a few minutes.
I realize all of us would love to get our photo albums and other sentimental items, but if you find out a fire or tornado is coming any minute, then those things are not essential and will have to get left behind.
I also realize that like any checklist, you’ll want to modify it and add different items than I have to suit your needs. But be very careful not to get carried away and be sure you could literally escape your house in 5 minutes flat. In other words, keep it simple.
So some time this week I encourage you to have a family meeting and sit down with everyone and make your own 5-minute emergency checklist. Then assign each member of the family different items to grab in the house. Also, don’t forget to have the checklist where everyone can see it. (Mine is posted in my home office.)