Run Evac Drills That Conquer! Easy Details, Read Now
By Jeanette Vale
- As a group/family, pick a date to do an evacuation drill.
- Pick the setting when disaster strikes:
We are at home awake or
We are asleep in our beds (practice both)
(Evac during school/work/errands is blog 2 of 2 next week)
What kind of threat is common to our part of the globe?
What kind of things do we need in our survival kits to address this?
Do we even have survival kits? See this 30 minute fix
Do we assign a buddy system to help smaller or senior members evacuate?
What else about our home or situation is unique that we need to plan for?
- On the day of the drill, each person take time to define:
- What is my first movement? (e.g.., get close-toed shoes on)
- What is my second movement? (it’s pitch black, headlamp! Keep hands free)
- Third movement, Run to my buddy (if assigned a younger member to assist).
In short, make a list of everything you need to do and grab and
where to meet up.
The GOAL: Have a list of actions that you practice running through several times a year. If you have a buddy, practice it with your buddy several times a year.
- Day of drill: Walk through your evacuation steps slowly. Repeat. Commit it to mind and muscle memory.
- After you’ve walked through it a few times, set the timer and see how fast and accurate you can exit the house and arrive at the determined destination.
- SCREAM! Train the kids to yell “Jason has Brianna!” “Jason and Brianna have go-bags and we are out the front door!” That way mom and dad can guage who is where. Have them yell even during the practice runs. Train your children and they will be HELPFUL.
- Once at your destination: Head count. Did you all make it?
- Debriefing: What did you learn? Tweak your written plans and re-practice any part to smooth it out.
- NOW…Throw in curveballs, ‘what if this?’ or, ‘what if that?’….practice running through the evacuation with these unexpected bombs dropping. Make it fun, make loud noises and throw pillows at a pair as they execute their drill.
- In an easy-rip-open plastic bag–put in Shoes & headlamp (light source that keeps hands free) TIE bag to foot of bed. Emergency Zone sells two different kinds of headlamps. Motion Sensor head lamp.
- Keep exits clear of obstructions.
- Fill car gas tanks when they reach the halfway mark. Don’t let tanks get completely empty.
- Park your car's nose out (easy drive-off).
- Keep water bottles in all door pockets. Yes, the passengers may drain them regularly but keep them stocked. There are creative ways to have permanent bottles that don’t fill our landfills/oceans or leak toxins into the water from sitting in a hot car.
- Car keys are ALWAYS stored in the same place.
- Talk about pets. How much time do you dedicate to finding and securing them? Make sure children understand that helping animals must stop if it endangers human life. We sell dog and cat evacuation kits. But these are easy to make yourself from things in your home.
Diane Musho Hamilton of the Harvard Business Review describes our brains activity during an emergency:
“We have two amygdala, one on each side of the brain, behind the eyes and the optical nerves. Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk, in his book The Body Keeps the Score, calls this the brain’s “smoke detector.” It’s responsible for detecting fear and preparing our body for an emergency response.
When we perceive a threat, the amygdala sounds an alarm, releasing a cascade of chemicals in the body. Stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol flood our system, immediately preparing us for fight or flight. When this deeply instinctive function takes over, we call it what Daniel Goleman coined in Emotional Intelligence as “amygdala hijack.” In common psychological parlance we say, “We’ve been triggered.” We notice immediate changes like an increased heart rate or sweaty palms. Our breathing becomes more shallow and rapid as we take in more oxygen, preparing to bolt if we have to.
The flood of stress hormones create other sensations like a quivering in our solar plexus, limbs, or our voice. We may notice heat flush our face, our throat constrict, or the back of our neck tighten and jaw set. We are in the grip of a highly efficient, but prehistoric set of physiological responses. These sensations are not exactly pleasant — they’re not meant for relaxation. They’re designed to move us to action.
The active amygdala also immediately shuts down the neural pathway to our prefrontal cortex so we can become disoriented….”. -Calming Your Brain During Conflict”
In a disoriented state, unlocking a door to escape or opening a window can become difficult in a time of panic. The evacuation drill, when it is familiar, brings the greatest safety. The chances of having your go-bag on your back increases if that is what you practiced.
Step on, prep on and GO!
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