HAVING an evacuation plan for your family at home does contribute in the goal of having a disaster resilient community. I have discussed how to make one on my article last week. Today, I want to share some more pointers to help you understand the need to develop your plan.
The next thing you need to know is how your local disaster risk reduction and management respond to emergency needs in your neighborhood. Basically, the procedure is a process — you make the call, the rescuer asks for details, then they arrive. There will be no problem if your information on the details is crystal clear, otherwise, time will be wasted. The point is, the rescuer and the requesting person should know exactly where and when are they supposed to meet, especially on an evacuation.
Let’s have a quick, not disaster related example: Before we go to a scheduled training, I and my co-trainers would usually set a place where we could all meet on a scheduled time before our departure. I know you do this too when you go out for a trip with your friends or mates. This is to make sure that no time is wasted by fetching just each and every one on the trip. It also lessens your car driver’s stress, and travel time, before really getting into the highway.
We need to do this too for disaster risk reduction, that is, to get to the evacuation center as quick as possible. But to do so, there must be a place or a landmark near your residence indicated on your evacuation plan. This landmark should be familiar that even your local DRRM officers or rescuers are aware of. This location is what they call “pick-up point.” It is where you can wait for your rescuer (and vice versa) during evacuations or emergency.
Take an incoming strong typhoon for example. The MDRRMC will sure require you to evacuate immediately especially if you are within the hazard prone area. When you have a known Pick-up point, even if you have no car to use, for evacuation, there should be a rescuer or vehicle waiting for you there, and it will be easier to go to the evacuation center.
A pick-up point is an essential reference for everyone in a community. You should know one near you as it may save you in an emergency. During the typhoon Ompong incident, the identification of a pick-up point was very helpful in the pre-emptive evacuation process. Calls for rescue overwhelmed our emergency operations center that time. To quickly respond to every request, especially evacuation, a single instruction of going to their nearest pick-up point made the operations quick and systematic. At the right time, everyone requesting for assistance such as motor vehicles were duly addressed. That is because both the rescuers and the community members knew of a single place to meet. There is no more need to look for house numbers of every structure that consumes time.
So while there is no need for you to evacuate yet, make your evacuation plan now. Identify your pick-up points and verify them if it is known by your barangay and municipal DRRM. We’d rather plan and not use it, than experience disaster that we don’t have a plan for it at all.