Planning for an evacuation should occur well before an emergency happens. A wildfire is a dynamic event, and time may be limited, so it's important for you to think clearly and act decisively during an evacuation.
Have A Plan
The first step in preparing for an emergency is to have a plan. Determine how you will respond to an evacuation order and make sure everyone in the home is familiar with the plan.
- Establish Escape Routes based on fire behavior.
- Have a back-up plan - Know two ways out .
- Identify safety zones.
- Pre-determine a family meeting place.
- Plan and practice.
When To Evacuate
There are a number of ways that citizens will be notified about an emergency in your area. If you receive the notice to evacuate, it is important to respond immediately. Waiting, or choosing not to evacuate when told to leave, can put you and your family in danger. Some of the ways that information will be communicated to the public include:
- Local TV and Radio
- Emergency Alert System (EAS)
- Emergency Notification System (ENS) (visit www.elpasoteller911.org for more information and to register cell phone numbers)
- Emergency Personnel
Preparing For Immediate Evacuation
As soon as you are alerted to an emergency in your area, follow these steps and be prepared to leave immediately:
- Back the car into the garage, roll the windows up, and leave the keys in the ignition.
- Close garage door and set it for manual operation.
- Load important documents, pets, valuables, evacuation kit, prescriptions into the car.
- Take only one vehicle - stay together
- No boats or RVs.
- Wear long pants, long sleeves, and sturdy shoes.
Conditions during an evacuation can be chaotic. It is important to stay calm, think clearly, and avoid panic. Evacuating early and away from the emergency is recommended; however, if you can not safely evacuate, follow these guidelines:
- If you become trapped by fire, seek refuge in a structure.
- If you are trapped in your vehicle, park in a clear area, close windows and vents, cover up with a blanket on the floor.
- If on foot, find a clear area, lay down on the ground and protect your airway.
If You Have Time
If you become aware of a developing emergency, but your area is not yet directly affected, you may have time to take some action to increase your home’s survivability.
- Attach garden hoses to reach around the entire house.
- Fill sinks and tubs with water.
- Place a ladder against the house.
- Close windows and doors.
- Turn all lights on.
- Move furniture to the interior of rooms away from windows.
Pets and Livestock
- In planning for an evacuation, don’t forget to plan for your pets and livestock.
- Make sure pets have ID tags or a microchip.
- Make arrangements with neighbors in case you are not at home.
- Don’t turn animals loose.
- Take pet supplies to last at least 72 hours.
Emergency Kit - Plan For At Least 72 Hours
The 72-Hour Emergency Kit should be individually tailored to meet the basic survival needs of you and your family. Take into consideration any special needs such as infants and elderly, persons with disabilities, and pets. It is recommended that you store your emergency supplies in one location that is relatively safe, yet easily accessible and portable if evacuation is required. Rethink your kit and family needs at least once a year and replace items as needed.
For Additional Information:
- Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management
- American Red Cross
- Colorado Division of Emergency Services
- Humane Society of the United States
- Pikes Peak Humane Society
If you would like to distribute this information please print the Evacuation Planning PDF