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Emergency Plan: The Must Do PP List - From Panicked To Prepared

PP = Preparedness Plan

Evacuation Route Sign

NOTE: Updated article October 2016.

The ongoing fires in California sparked this list. While our thoughts and prayers are with those who are in harm's way, it is a good time to think about what each of us would do in that stressful situation. An emergency plan that is put into place BEFORE an emergency occurs will turn potential panic into a preparedness plan in the short time you might have to act.

While every minute counts, it is possible to pack the most essential items even if you have less than an hour to leave your home in the path of destruction. Use the categories and tips below to collect important items that will help you prepare today for an easier tomorrow.

Personal "Papers":

  • Insurance information - household and health
  • Passports, Social Security Cards, Birth certificates
  • Rolodex, Computer disks, Thumb drives
  • Cell phones with chargers
  • A recent statement from each household bill
  • Check books, credit cards, cash from house
  • Laptop with charger
  • Pens and paper
  • Pictures: Household contents; Family photos

Personal Items:

  • Prescription Medication, Body braces or supports
  • Eye Glasses, Contact Lenses, Sunglasses
  • Pillows, blankets, towels
  • A change of clothes and an extra pair of practical shoes for each member of the family
  • Bottled water, juice boxes, snack bars
  • Baby food/formula, diapers, bottles
  • A battery operated radio; flashlights; extra batteries
  • A pre-packed personal product travel bag for each person

Pets & People & Personnel:

  • This one is obvious IF they are home with you when you have to leave
  • If you must leave while loved ones are not at home, it is wise to have a "call plan" in place and a preselected "meet up" location.
  • Dry pet food
  • Employees, employers, co-workers information - contact info besides the office or work location number or email

Tips to Using This List:

  • Much of the Personal Papers list can be collected and organized now. Store it in a strong box that you can grab and go. Keep a written list of its contents outside the box so you know what needs to be added, if anything.
  • Other Personal Paper items, like check books or cash, should be stored in one location in the house.
  • Electronic chargers can be pre-labeled on the plug area for easy identification.
  • As for pictures, put photos or disks with photos of the house and its contents in the strong box. Family pictures that are not displayed can be stored away now; grab displayed ones and throw into an empty box (don't worry about breaking the frames, they can be replaced).
  • Keep a few shopping bags folded up in the linen closet to fill with pillows, towels, blankets.
  • Clothing has to be limited, think ahead of time of what you might grab for each person, you probably won't have room for more than one or two suitcases for the whole family. 
  • Each person in the house should have assigned "item collection" duties. This will save time and help with thoroughness in an emergency. If some of this list is assembled ahead of time, one person should be able to collect it all, pack the car, and leave in under an hour.

Be it fire, flood, hurricane, or political unrest, use this list to prepare now at your leisure...the old adage still holds true, "It is better to be safe than sorry."

If you have additional ideas, tips, or items to add, please do so in the comments section. Every bit helps. Remember, the most important thing to get out safely is YOU!


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