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Plan for Locations


Plan for Locations

FEMA suggests that everyone have Disaster Plans for potential disasters wherever you might be. The military has contingent plans for almost every situation. You should, too, FEMA reasons.

Well, that sounds good. With everything else youíre doing, now you need to sit down and whomp out Disaster Plans for your trips to school, church, football games, theatres, shopping malls, and tourist and travel locations. You know what? is NOT going to suggest that you do it! Because you wonít.

Instead, thereís an alternate suggestion:

  1. Before you go anywhere, consider what the possible dangers are. Weather dangers can often be anticipated: flooding, high winds, storms. Donít plan to sit in open arenas in stormy weather, for example.
  2. Pretend you are a cop or a fireman when you go somewhere. Situational awareness is the key. Focus on where you are, how you got in, and what your exit strategies are in an emergency.
  3. Carry a small flashlight on your key ring. In the dark, it will provide enough light to find an exit. The screen on a cell phone is also a dim light source.
  4. Before you enter a school, church, sports arena, or theatre, consider how you will get out in an emergency. Look for an escape map that shows exits and how to reach them. If you have a choice, sit by one of the exits. Stay near walls in halls when walking to avoid disorientation.
  5. Watch where you are going. Relate this to the escape map, which should now be in your head, especially in a large building, arena, or shopping mall. Be able to find an exit even in pitch darkness, with your little flashlight. Consider alternative exits, such as going straight through a store and out its back door, or going out a schoolroom window.
  6. Consider what kind of alarm to look or listen for. Will lights flash? Will there be a bell? Will there be an announcement on the Muzak channel? If there is no alarm, use your best judgment and prepare to leave at the drop of a hat.
  7. After you determine the nature of the problem, decide whether it is safer to stay where you are or leave. A large shopping center may be safer in a tornado than its parking lot with your vehicle on it. Trust your hunches.
  8. After you decide what to do, do it immediately.
  9. So, hereís your plan: Be aware of possibly dangerous situations; know how you got in, where you are now, and how to get out; determine what the problem is; decide the best course of action; and implement your plan immediately!
  10. Once youíre outside, if thatís the best alternative, implement your regular disaster plan for your vehicle or work.

I think this is a common-sense, non-bureaucratic approach. An ex-Fire Chief suggested most of this to me. He taught it to his firemen, who are experts at situational awareness.

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