Disaster Ready People 12 Month Guide – Month 9: Evacuation From…

Evacuation from Work

Probably the biggest issue related to a disaster requiring an evacuation at work is the issue of communicating and meeting up with your family. You should consider the following:

How will you communicate with your family to tell them you’re okay?

How will you decide where to go if the disaster is more wide-spread? Will you go to your primary, secondary or an out-of-town meeting place?

If you can’t get to a chosen meeting place, what’s your plan?

What will you do if phone service is disabled?

How will you make use of your phone tree from work?

It’s a lot to consider, but you need to think it through! Talk over the details with your family and employer. If your workplace doesn’t have an evacuation plan, make your own.

Disaster Planning at Work

Every employer should have a business continuity plan (a contingency plan for how to continue providing services in the face of a major disruption) and a disaster plan. Unfortunately, many employers are in “disaster denial” too, so begin the process by asking what emergency contingency plans your employer has adopted.

If your employer has emergency plans in place, ask specifically:

What are you expected you to do if your work location is damaged and/or closed?

What plans have been made if your workplace has to be evacuated?

How do you contact your employer during an emergency?

How do you find out if and when it’s okay to come back to work?

If you can get all your questions answered, all you have to do is coordinate your employer’s disaster plan with your Personal Preaction™ Plan. If, on the other hand, you discover they haven’t made any plans or the plan they do have is sketchy, offer to help develop it more fully. With the information you have in your hands, you are equipped to address many possible threats. Combining your questions with the information you have gathered might just be all that’s necessary to get the ball rolling.

Evacuation from School

If you have children in school, you need to know exactly what the school’s plans are for dealing with disasters. Be aware that many schools are still developing their evacuation plans and that those plans may be in a state of flux. If you discover your child’s school is lacking in emergency preparedness, help them get ready. Locate a free downloadable book to help schools prepare for disasters at U.S. Department of Education:


Consider a few problems from the school’s point of view:

If children are moved to another location because they cannot be safely sheltered at the school, the school needs to ensure the children are picked up only by parents or other legally designated adults.

A safe, alternate location needs to be identified.

Co-ordinate your evacuation plans with the school:

Notify the school in writing to specify who has your authorization to pick up your child.

Have the school confirm how children will be transported from school to another specified location.

Have an alternate plan if you cannot get to the school or the other location to pick up your child.

Be sure your child understands both the school’s plan and your own. This will help reassure them that you’ve got all the bases covered. It may even make sense to develop a code word that only you and your children know. If you authorize someone other than yourself to pick up the children, give that person the code word and teach your children never to go with anyone who does not use it.

Next>> Month 9: Stay Informed