I have written before on the benefits of emergency planning, but after the events of the past few weeks, I think it doesn’t hurt to discuss it yet again. For people who live in areas threatened by hurricanes and wildfires, this is an easy question to answer, but I think that we should probably all at least take a few minutes to think about what we would do if we were required to evacuate.
“But I don’t need to,” you say. “I don’t live in one of those areas.” This may be true. But there still could be a reason you need to leave your home. A few months back, near my hometown, there was a story of a tanker truck that got into an accident and spewed caustic chemicals of some sort into the air. Authorities evacuated the area for no more than a few hours, but these were not people who thought they would ever have to evacuate. A few years back, a large explosion at a chemical plant in the city where I was in grad school also led to temporary evacuations, this time for a few days.
I think it’s never a bad idea to have in your mind what you would do if you were required to evacuate. It’s good emergency preparation, and it forces you to be organized and keep all important documents in one place. It also makes you take a second look at the things you own. You think you can’t live without something, but would you grab it in an emergency? Of course, that doesn’t automatically tell you that you should get rid of the item – clearly I wouldn’t be grabbing my kitchen table on the way out of the building, but I also can’t get rid of it either. It does, however, make you take a second look at those boxes of sentimental items that you have stashed in a closet or those collections of figurines. Maybe you really don’t need everything that you have.
My thoughts are with the residents of Texas who have been affected by the hurricane and flooding and those who are still trying to get out. I don’t know that there are any lessons to be taken from the event except to just be prepared and do what you can to help your fellow neighbor in a time of need.
For those of you looking to donate, the Red Cross is currently looking for donations to assist those affected by Hurricane Ike. Additionally, a $5 donation to the Austin Food Bank provides $20 worth of food to those currently sheltering in Austin. Their blog provides more details.