Friday, May 4, 2007
7 News Features: 5 Minutes to Get Out
An emergency going on outside of your home may require that you evacuate fast. What should you take, what should you leave behind? In a special assignment report, the Nightteam's Charles Billi shows us what to do when you have Five Minutes to Get Out.
WSVN -- Hurricane, tsunami, raging brushfire or an accident at a nuclear power plant.
You have to evacuate your home -- you have five minutes to get out. Would you know what to bring?
Chuck Lanza: "Here's the scenario for today: There's been an announcement -- there's been an accident in the ocean and there's a large wave of water heading towards the east coast of Florida."
The Smith family of Miami Shores is about to find out if they'd know what to do.
Dad Dave, Mom Nancy, children Kaitlyn, Kevin, Sean, Mikey and dog Coco have all agreed to give it a try.
And Chuck Lanza -- an expert on emergency preparedness and strategic planning -- is going to put them to the test .
Chuck Lanza: "You might not be able to come back to your home for days, maybe even weeks, so get what's important. You have five minutes starting now."
Nancy: "Go get pictures. Will you get pictures? And get the insurance information!"
With the entire family literally off and running, our cameras follow their every move.
Dave: "What do we need to take with us? Insurance papers, pictures. What else do we need to take that's portable?"
Kaitlyn: "I want pictures!"
While Mom and Dad quickly look through important papers, Kaitlyn focuses on pictures.
Meanwhile, the youngest boys -- Mikey and Sean -- grab pillows and blankets.
Karen: "I would need this."
Nancy: "Here, here."
Karen: "I got it! I need to get the computer backup."
As the seconds tick down, tensions begin to rise.
Nancy: "What do you have? Where are you?"
There is some confusion...
Nancy: "No! Not blankets -- we need pictures."
Kevin: "Pictures of what?"
With four minutes left, Kevin grabs his pillow and some clothes.
Mom, Dad and Kaitlyn throw pictures and photo albums into a large trunk.
Nancy: "You want all your things? You can't take it all!"
Dave: "You can just bring that. Yeah, that's fine. We're not going to have a full car."
Dad and Kevin take the trunk to the car...
Nancy: "I need to do this."
A minute, 30 seconds left, Nancy runs to the bathroom to grab toothbrushes, toothpaste and contact lens solution.
Chuck Lanza: "You have 30 seconds!"
Nancy: "Oh, my goodness. All right, well that will do it."
With just 30 seconds left, the Smith family runs out of the house with the possessions they had time to grab, and the family dog safely in the car.
Charles Billi: "Could you pass this critical test, and in the 5 minutes you have to get out, would you really have the presence of mind to grab what is truly important?"
Chuck Lanza: "I heard that an awful lot: people saying, 'Let's get pictures, let's get pictures.' More importantly, do you have the cash?"
Topping the checklist of what you should have: An emergency stash of cash in the house -- just in case.
Chuck Lanza: "Your credit cards, your identification. Does everyone have an identification that they could use? I have my wallet."
Kaitlyn: "I have my school ID."
Other documents you need: Birth certificates, your marriage license and insurance papers.
Nancy Smith: "I didn't remember to grab those. I grabbed the insurance papers, but I didn't grab those."
Next, you should get medical records and prescriptions.
Chuck Lanza: "So, somewhere down the road when you start taking prescription medications that should be number one on your list because these are things that are sometimes life-saving."
Don't forget your first aid kit, flashlights and lots of batteries -- as well as your cell phone and charger.
Charles Billi: "What grade do you give yourself?"
Dave Smith: "I'd say about an 88. What is that, Kev?"
Kevin: "Oh, that's a B."
Dave: "Oh, that's a B. OK, we got a B."
But did they really get a passing grade?
Charles Billi: "Chuck, now that the family's inside. How did they really do?
Chuck Lanza: "They did OK. I expected them to do a lot worse than they really did. The fact that they already had a lot of their things packed up was very impressive."
And what did they do wrong? Lanza says mom or dad needed to be the one in charge, and they should have had a plan.
Chuck Lanza: "It's important to write this stuff down. Check lists -- so easy, all you'd have to do is you'd run in the kitchen, you'd grab the checklist -- each of the kids has their own checklist -- you hand it to them, you say, 'Get this stuff.'"
They did pass one critical part of the test with flying colors:
Chuck Lanza: "The good thing is they all had 3/4s of a tank of gas in their vehicles. That tells me that they're always thinking about it, to make sure they never get below half a tank. That's key."
Luckily for the Smith family this was only a test.
But now they know what to bring with them if they only have five minutes to get out of their house in an emergency, and they hope other families take away this important and possibly life-saving lesson.
"That, really there's nothing more important except our family -- even pictures. I mean it would be great to have the memories but just as long as everybody else stays safe, that's the most important thing."
Charles Billi: "Planning is the key to making it through this scenario."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Sample Emergency Checklist