Last week, immediate evacuations were ordered of several neighborhoods around Jackson as a wildfire sparked suddenly and unexpectedly when floating Mylar balloons contacted power lines. Just days later, an automobile caused a fire on I-15, also resulting in evacuations near Malad City.
Summer or winter or anywhere in between, we are all just a hazmat spill or a wildfire or an earthquake away from a sudden evacuation. The question is, are you ready? If you got a knock on the door from a fireman or deputy telling you that you had to get out right now, would you be ready to go?
Having a go bag packed and in easy reach is one key to being ready for anything that might happen, day or night, that forces you to relocate with little or no notice. It might be a backpack, a tote bag, or a small suitcase. Changes of clothes, a supply of essential medications, important papers and contact information are a starting place. Every person is different, so think carefully about what you would need and want for several days in an unfamiliar shelter. Don’t forget the comfort items, a book to read, puzzles you enjoy, needlecrafts, maybe even some hard candy you like. A charger for your phone? Some music and earbuds? Don’t forget a flashlight and batteries. The things you’ll want in your go bag will be different than anyone else, and the time to think about it, make a list, and pack it up is now. There may not be time when the time comes.
In a large scale emergency, shelters will be set up. Different shelters will have different rules and facilities, depending on the agency that manages them. You will likely be given a cot, blanket, and pillow with sufficient floor space for you and your go bag. Meals may be provided and expect toilet facilities to be shared. In a well managed shelter, security and medical attention will be available and your presence at the shelter will be kept strictly confidential. Imagine what you’ll require for a stay in such a shelter and pack your go bag accordingly. It’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but being prepared to go at a moment’s notice will make a quick exit more successful and a bad situation a little less stressful.
For more information on forming a disaster plan for you and your family, contact your County’s Emergency Management office. They’ll have some great ideas and resources for you.