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During the Hayman Fire of 2002, many people in Teller County lost their only copies of deeds and insurance records. The elderly, and the chronically ill, often evacuated without prescription medications or home oxygen supplies.
A lot of that chaos could have been prevented if every family had made a disaster plan ahead of time.
We can’t give you a ready-made plan, because every family has different needs and priorities. But, in general, most evacuation plans describe these things:
Plan at least two routes out of Black Forest, so you can use the safest one. If there is only one way out of your neighborhood, plan to evacuate early before fire or smoke can cut off that path.
By getting out early, you also free up the roads for emergency vehicles.
Ask friends in town to serve as contact points for family members who are at school or work. Tell your schools that these people are allowed to pick up your children, if necessary.
Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be a contact point. If local phone lines are jammed, long-distance lines may be available.
Once you have named your contact points, make sure that everyone in your family carries their phone numbers and addresses.
List the things you will need if you are out of your home for several days. Also list valuables and irreplaceable mementoes. Here are some suggestions:
Note where every item is. You can save time by listing the items to gather from each room. But take the most important things first, such as medical supplies and financial records.
Plan to take only what you can carry in one trip. If your neighborhood is being evacuated, you won’t be allowed back in after you leave.
Think of ways to protect some of your property if you’re not home when your neighborhood is evacuated.
Keep copies of your prescription numbers in your wallet
Keep your most important papers in a bank safe deposit box
Use fire-resistant boxes to store papers and computer disks that must stay in your home
Store a set of computer backup disks at work, or a friend’s home outside the Forest
Exchange plans and keys with neighbors you trust
You can make it up suddenly, in the stress-filled hour before you must evacuate. Or you can refine your plan over several calm family meetings. Your household, and our community, will be stronger if you start your plan today.