Tips for preparing a family evacuation plan

When it comes to protecting your family at home, you might think you’ve covered all your bases — you have state-of-the-art home-security and fie-protection systems and you’ve installed biometric safes, sparing no expense. But what happens when a natural disaster, such as a wildfire or hurricane, requires you to evacuate? Here are some tips for preparing an emergency evacuation plan for your family.

Consider your climate

Your geographic region will determine which natural disasters you need to prepare for, and how much notice you can expect in the event of an evacuation. In the case of hurricanes, you’ll typically have a few days’ notice before you need to leave. With wildfires, you might have to evacuate in a matter of minutes.

Who to include in your evacuation plan

All members of your household should know the drill, including household staff members, caretakers and college students who might be living away from home. Be sure your plan accounts for pets, especially large animals such as horses that are not easily transportable.

What should you include?

  • Make an electronic contact list for family members and household staff.* Share a hard copy and a digital version which can be stored in a cloud drive. Keep copies on your tablet and smartphone.
  • Establish several methods of communication. Although cell service can be overwhelmed during an emergency, the internet will usually still work. Group text messaging and a number of apps can make it easier to communicate. Appoint a trusted contact outside of the family, such as an assistant or attorney, to act as a liaison in case of communication issues and to act on your behalf while you’re dealing with the disaster.
  • Create a family communication plan and designate an out-of-the-area friend or relative as a point of contact in case of separation.
  • Choose a meeting place. Establish a location close to home that’s easily accessible for everyone.
  • Know the established evacuation routes. These may change depending on the emergency, but it’s important to be familiar with the routes and area.
  • Choose a meeting place. Establish a location close to home that’s easily accessible for everyone. Know the established evacuation routes. These may change depending on the emergency, but it’s important to be familiar with the routes and area.
  • Equip all vehicles with child safety seats and emergency kits. Kits should include:
    • Cash stored in a waterproof bag
    • Cellphone, laptop and charger
    • Homeowners policy information
    • Three gallons of water per person
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • First-aid kit
  • Assign each adult a specific task, such as:
    • Check social media for updates
    • Shut down the gas meter, electric and main water line
    • Take fireproof boxes with important documents
    • Set alarm and sprinkler systems
    • Close up the house and secure any storm shutters or fie doors
    • Assist family members who have disabilities or medical needs
    • Secure and transport pets
    • Be the main point of contact for the family

Emergency evacuations can be stressful and scary, but having a solid evacuation plan in place can help you breathe a little easier amid the chaos of a natural disaster. Putting together the plan is step one; communicating, practicing and updating it will ensure your plan works when put to the test.

To learn more about protecting your family during an emergency, contact your Nationwide Private Client agent. If you have any questions, please contact your agent or Nationwide Private Client Risk Solutions professional. For more information on how you can help prevent losses, visit Nationwide.com/solutionseries.

Download: Tips for preparing a family evacuation plan

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