Families should plan for a week away from home


COLUMBIA, Mo. - Families who may be evacuated from flood plains along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and tributaries should plan to be away from their home for at least a week, according to a community emergency management specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

"With disasters in general, the recommendation is that families have a plan for three days," said Eric Evans. "We've discovered over time that in flood situations, people need to think longer term: What are they going to do for at least a week?"

Having a disaster plan is critical, Evans said. "People need to be able to react quickly and know what to do."

Each family member should know what to do if evacuation orders are issued. Plans also should include arrangements for pets.

"Families should arrange for a place where they can check in and make sure everyone is safe," Evans said, in case they become separated.

Part of these emergency preparations should include collecting important documents that you may have at home, such as titles and deeds, as well as insurance information and an inventory of your home's contents.

"Video or digital photos, along with a written list, are best," he said.

Individuals should prepare a list of any prescription medications, as well as phone numbers for the pharmacy and prescribing doctors.

Another essential is an out-of-area point of contact. "This way you can call one person who can let the rest of your family network know that you're safe," Evans said. "Sometimes it's easier to call out from a disaster area than to call in."

Evans said, "Gather those items and keep them in one place, so they're ready to take if you have to evacuate."

One last piece of advice from Evans: "It wouldn't hurt, if they have to evacuate, to call the city or county and ask, 'Where do I go to find out when I can get back into my home?'"

For more information on family disaster plans and creating a disaster kit, go to https://extension.missouri.edu/programs/disaster-education.

Preparing to evacuate

The following checklist from University of Missouri Extension can help people prepare for an evacuation.


  • Complete change of clothing and footwear; at least one for each person
  • Sturdy shoes or work boots
  • Rain gear
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Work gloves
  • Sunglasses

For baby

  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Powdered milk
  • Medications

For adults

  • Heart and high blood pressure medication
  • Insulin
  • Prescription drugs
  • Denture needs
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra eyeglasses
  • Non-prescription Drugs

Important family documents (store in a portable, waterproof container)

  • Wills, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
  • Passports, Social Security cards, immunization records
  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit card account numbers and companies
  • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)