Guiding your family through a volcano escape might sound like an action movie, but it’s a realistic scenario! Don’t assume they’ll know what to do when the time comes. Make sure the whole family is on board with your disaster preparation efforts.
In most cases, national agencies will alert you to the impending threat of an eruption, so you should have time to act—but it won’t be enough time to devise an entire evacuation plan from scratch! Make the plan now, and everyone will have a better chance of making it through the ash cloud with you.
Educate the Kids
When children are old enough to understand what volcanoes are, the threat of an eruption can be scary for them. Education will be a primary tool in your disaster preparation efforts.
- Discuss what volcanoes are (and how likely an eruption really is!)
- Make sure they’re clear on family rules concerning evacuations. It’s not the time to argue!
- Help them understand what will happen during a potential evacuation and why there’s no cause for concern.
- Give them confidence by letting them know that if they stay close to you and listen carefully so they can follow instructions, things should be okay.
Involving your kids in stocking your emergency kit will also make them feel more confident. Make sure they know that the emergency kit is for emergencies only; it’s not useful if everything has been moved or eaten!
Having a step by step plan written down will also give your family confidence. Write your plan in detail and keep it with the emergency kit. Make a bullet point list for each family member as well, so they can refer to their list of tasks as well. All of your plans should be kept with your kit for easy access.
Plan For the Pets
Make sure the family pets are accounted for during your evacuation preparation efforts. If you’re leaving your house because it’s unsafe, it’s also unsafe for your pets. Be sure you have a way to safely transport all of your animals with you as you go, and don’t be afraid to reach out to local pet shelters or experts who can provide advice on how to evacuate pets safely.
Practice Evacuation Drills
If you’re within 20 miles of a volcano, you should definitely plan an annual volcano evacuation drill. Make sure everyone knows what to do and what to take. Practice a few times to test multiple evacuation routes and gauge your family’s confidence after a few runs. Update your written plan if you find that some of your planned evacuation options are not ideal.
Drills will prepare younger family members and get them accustomed to what will be expected of them in a volcano emergency. It may also help you lock down necessary details that may get overlooked in an actual emergency. For example, you’ll want to make sure everyone knows the exact location of the
If we’re evacuating, what is going to happen to the house while we’re gone?