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Hurricane evacuation preparedness is key
Hinesville Fire Department
Kristian Johanson
Kris Johanson is deputy fire chief of the Hinesville Fire Department. - photo by File photo

There are several lists available across the web that help you prepare for a hurricane.

Typically, these lists are made up of suggested items to ensure that you are capable of being self-sufficient for a number of days. However, one thing that is not mentioned in these lists is the need for an evacuation communication plan for you and your family.

During Hurricane Katrina, one of the largest recurring problems for public safety agencies was phone calls to emergency services by people wanting to check on family members whom they have not been able to get in contact with.

By establishing a communication plan with specific times and waypoints on route through the evacuation, you can alleviate a significant stress off yourself and public safety agencies.

For example, if you are evacuating from Hinesville to Columbus, Ga., you can establish stops where you call your point of communication at home, 1-16 at Hwy. 57, I-16 at Hwy. 441, I-16 at Hwy. 65 and so forth.

When you make contact with your point person, have them record the date, time and your location.

It is important to establish communication every four hours and remember, you may have not gotten very far in that time period due to traffic congestion.

This will allow the most recent information to be given to emergency services if contact is lost and emergency services needs to seek you out.

Also, if you establish specific times you are to make contact with family, try to choose hours that are not during peak cellphone use hours.

During an evacuation, cellular systems can get overloaded which can pose another challenge.

Bottom line, have a plan that works for you and your family. Communication is key during an emergency situation and it will help you and emergency services to stay focused on more daunting problems that may arise.

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