Thursday 13/11/14

This week, I'm going to ask you a few questions. I can't answer these questions for you, because your answers will be unique to you. How well do you know your town or city? Sure, you know where the supermarket, coffee shop, gym and book shop are; but what about emergency exits and supply points?

Every community has some sort of natural disaster it must be wary of. The threat could be bushfire, flood, tsunami, or even pyroclastic flow from a nearby volcano. If an evacuation order were issued where you live, how long would it take you to get to safety? Does your town have an evacuation point and do you know how to get there? Would following the major arterial roads be a good idea, or would those roads quickly become gridlocked by other fleeing citizens? Do you have an alternate route planned?

Do you have a Bug Out Bag (a bag containing enough clothing and other personal supplies to get you through 3 days)? You should also include a First-Aid kit, a torch, a pocket sized radio, spare batteries, and a book. Do you take any prescription medications? If so, you must keep a grab-bag of your essential medications with your Bug Out Bag. Is your Bug Out Bag kept in an area of your home that you can quickly get to, or is it buried at the back of your wardrobe, underneath all your old ski gear? Remember, in an evacuation, seconds count.

Not only do you need a Bug Out Bag, so does everyone else in your home. Your spouse/partner should be able to pack their own bag, but you'll have to pack for your kids. You don't want to get to the evacuation point and find their bags are full toys and comics.

What about food and water? Do you have a milk crate or two of non-perishable food items stored next to your Bug Out Bag? What about water? You'll need enough for drinking and cooking (if your non-perishable food is dehydrated). You should take enough food and water to get you through 72 hours, maybe longer (hopefully the evacuation will only be for 24 hours). Again, you'll need to increase that amount to accommodate everyone in your group. If you have to evacuate, it's better to rely on your own resourcefulness, instead of hoping someone else will care for you.

Do you have pets? What is your plan if you have to evacuate? Will you take them with you, or leave them behind? If you are going to take them with you; you must take food and other supplies for them too.

The food and water reserves will need to be rotated on a regular basis to make sure it doesn't go out of date so try and buy food that you would normally eat anyway, that way rotating food stock will not cause you any inconvenience.

Hopefully I have given you something to think about. It is likely the emergency services in your local area will have a website where they will post advice relating to current issues in your area. It is likely they will provide you with a comprehensive list of items you should pack.