The final recommendation is to regularly drill the event in different scenarios. This drill exercise can be as realistic as possible but should by its nature help uncover items and issues that are unpredicted and also occur during different time periods for added realism. A drill conducted on a Saturday morning at 7:00am with no distractions and everyone well rested might appear very successful. However, if you conduct it during rush hour, after a long day, or when all family members are in different locations could become devastating and an incredible learning experience.
On a final note, and I will dedicate a full article later on this topic, consider the impact of social media on command and control of your personal evacuation. How can we best leverage Facebook or Twitter to compliment coordination of family members across an unknown geography? For your children, what is the school policy on such events? Do they require the children to be picked up by a parent or are they let go on their own? It may be impossible to fetch everyone home before departure so are the bins and ‘go bags’ packed and marked? Have you brought up the subject to friends and family you might rely on for shelter in an event in any of the four cardinal directions?
This is a great discussion topic for families and it is critical to include the children in the discussion to get their point of view. You may find a bin of snacks, books, and board games are just as critical to them as a sleeping bag. The most important thing is taking that responsible first step toward preparation by setting aside an hour to talk through the topic and get feedback. Self-reliance during an emergency is not being an alarmist. Rather, it is prudent planning in a delicate, digital world where we rely heavily on wireless communication and electricity.