Why An Evacuation Plan & Being Prepared Is So Importortant

As an insurance agent for the past five years, I have been through experiences and have seen a lot of things that have made me more wise.   My job has been to insure people against the unforseen. To help them protect their families, lives, wealth, assets and property.  I see things a lot differently these days since starting my agency. Being an insurance agent has taught me a lot about risk management. I’ve  also learned a great deal outside of my work too. This has all changed my perspective in life over the years.

On September 11th, 2001, our world in the United States was turned upside down. We were attacked by terrorist in ways never even seen before. Tragically about 3,000 people were lost their lives.   Some lost lives  by jumping out of the towers, because they couldn’t escape.  Everyone’s security bubble was popped, and people woke up to see the times we live in to be crazy.   People were scared and I’ll admit, so was I.  At this point no one was truly “safe” any more. No one truly understood what had happened but it did  pull a lot people back into reality. It made us realize how delicate modern-day society can be, and just how precious life is.  This event created a lot of questions for myself over the past years.  It did for a lot of people.  It made me think deep and hard.  It made me draw the conclusion:   always be prepared for anything, and always keep a positive attitude for the best.

This past year in Colorado alone, we have seen hundreds of homes damaged or completely destroyed by wildfires. Lives were lost.  Colorado has been extremely dry in 2012, and this has sparked a condition for wildfires to break out. This occurred throughout the entire state. Then it happened. Wildfires broke out all over the place at different times of the year. They included, the Little Sand Fire, The Treasure Fire, Weber, Waldo and Flagstaff,  Lower North Fork, The High Park, Springer, Woodland, Last Chance, Ironing Board and Pine Ridge.  These wildfires have easily exceeded over $500,000,000 in damage and lives were lost.

The Waldo Canyon Fire that occurred in Colorado Springs was, in my opinion, almost unbelievable. Colorado Springs is just about an hour south of Denver. Colorado Springs is a small city. According to a 2010 Census, over 400,000 people live in the city. Metro Colorado Springs  includes around 650,000 people. They have small skyscrapers, and the city is wealthy. 

This modern, wealthy city faced wild-fire perils on the west side of the town that were unthinkable t starting  from June 23rd until the end of August. This was the quote “suppose to never happen”. Even though the west side of Colorado Springs is close to the Rocky Mountains and is in wild-fire area, the thought of the Waldo Canyon Fire getting that big and moving that far into a modern city, was truly “unthinkable”. Even with all the modern-day fire equipment, people, planes and tactics, the fire at times was quote “almost unstoppable”.

These are just two events in modern history, where “hell” literally broke out and caused havoc. Once caused by man, the other by nature. Most people were unprepared. They were to complacent. They also had the attitude of “it’ll never happen to me”. I know it’s extremely hard to prepare for a plane crashing into a skyscraper, and the same could be said about a wildfire literally breaking out in the middle of a city. But I believe situational awareness, planning, mindset and other factors can go a long way.

What happens when a fire fighter knocks on your door and says, “you have 10 minutes to leave”?. What if it’s not even a wildfire threatening your life, but something else. What if it is a terrorist attack? What about a flood? What if there is civil break down and unrest and there is no rule of law? There are many scenarios. And if you are one of those “it will never happen” people, look to the past. History will prove my point.

Everyone should have a plan. Unfortunately not many people do. Your plan needs to include all possible aspects and possibilities. Wildfires, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, civil unrest and disorder and any other possibilities which are unique to your situation and geographic area need to be considered.   For example,  if you live off the beach in California, you probably won’t have to worry about sitting out a week-long winter in your house. But you would have to worry about earthquakes.

Here are some of my tips on creating a plan. This also comes from more that just my experience in insurance.

  1. You need to scout and brainstorm all scenarios of all possibilities in your area. For example If you are in a flood area, your plan should be based off not just one,  but many possibilities.
  2. Build your plan. The plan should include all family members, no matter where you  are at.(work, school, etc) Have a meeting point A, B, C and etc. This will let you reunite with family, especially if one of the family members gets mixed up in all the havoc.
  3. Include your family, friends, neighbors and whoever else you can trust in you plan.
  4. Have bug out bags. If you need to get out in 5 minutes, you have to be out in 5 minutes! Everyone should have a bug out bag in the family. For more info on bug out bags, Google it! There is a ton of info out there on them.
  5. Be ready to possibly bug in. If you have civil unrest and there is no rule of law, don’t go far from Dodge!  Best thing is to turn into a ghost.
  6. Be prepared with supplies! If you’re not, and if there is an emergency, grocery shelves will be empty. Just google about empty grocery shelves on you tube during Katrina. There are plenty of peppers on you tube that can give you good advice. I am not saying to have 5 years worth of food, but a good back up supply won’t hurt. Don’t forget other things, such as extra fuel, propane, candles, medicine, communication, maps and etc.
  7. Be able to protect you and your family. Yes, have some sort of defense plan. As we all know the gun is a great equalizer. I personally think a Gun is your best defense. If you don’t like guns, have something else! When thugs are looting your neighbor and every single cop is busy in the city, the only law left is between you and the thugs. When they get to your house, you don’t want you or your family to be victims.
  8. Have locations B and C as bug out locations. Maybe the city has become unsafe and now its time to get out of Dodge. You, family and friends all need to know these locations. It wouldn’t  hurt to have location D. This can be very important for reuniting later on.
  9. There are many more tips out there for being prepared and having a plan. In my opinion, there is no such thing as doing something wrong. A lot of it is personal preference. Go out and do more research. Find what is best for you.

So all in all, be prepared and have a plan! Don’t forget the 5 basic needs of survival. Water, Food, Shelter, Fire(heat) and Security. The last position you want to be in are like the unprepared people from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. No water, no food, no nothing. You wouldn’t also want to end up in the New Orleans Super Dome of lawlessness.  You never know what might be around the next corner or what lies in the future. Don’t be a “it’ll never happen to me” person. Because when the Calvary can’t come rescue you, it’ll be just you and your family, friends and neighbors. The best thing is always to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

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About Mark A. Schneider
Owner of Denvers Insurance and Close Contact Security Services.

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