There is an old saying that I absolutely love and it rings true most of the time, it is "when you fail to plan, you plan to fail". As we look at the events of Hurricane Katrina and Rita you feel sad about the death of so many as well as the lost of property, and feelings of security. Even in the midst of these great cities tragedies, I found myself learning many lessons that I would like to share with you. These are lessons that I think we can spread around to help others to evacuate safely and timely when needed. I realize that many folks may live pay check to pay check and may not be able to squeeze any extra money to plan for major disasters, but we must plan because if we don't, its' putting ourselves and families in harms way. Planning for major disasters is more important now than it ever was considering that we will be in hurricane season until November 30. Also keep in mind that as a nation we are constantly on guard for terrorist attacks as well as earthquakes, etc. This is my list. You may want to write one for yourself and family.
Worry about your life, not your property. Material things can be replaced. It may take time, but if you survived the tragedy you will have time to replace your material.
Leave your city when the officials tell you that devastation is imminent. Don't wait until two million other folks decide to leave, because you will have to face others trying to flee at the same time which could cause major problems such as mass confusions, traffic congestion, shortages in gas, food and cash.
Always keep at least enough money in the bank to pay rent at a hotel for three weeks. Also you need to save flight money for your family members to fly out at a moment notice.
Keep your gas tank full. You never know when you will have to leave in a hurry. Trying to flee all at once causes highway congestion, attitude problems, fear, and possible gas and food shortages.
Keep at least fifty dollars in your pocket. I saw long lines in Texas of people who were upset because the ATM machines ran out of money. People were literally standing there with a check in their hand and no money or no way to cash their payroll. Many said they would wait it out because they couldn't cash their checks to get anything, at least having fifty bucks will give you enough cushion to get to the next destination by car.
Plan with your family an emergency evacuation plan, not just your immediate family but your parents and siblings too. Questions to ponder? Where do we meet? Who is willing to open their home up to family experiencing devastation? What family members are able to help those family members who may not have money to move quickly?
If you can, get a credit card strictly for emergencies in the event of other disasters. This is not for getting in debt. This card should be use to survive, should you need to leave quickly and have no money to do so.
Keep duplicate copies of important paperwork like insurance policies, bank account information, important numbers, etc.
Make you a survival kit. You can put water, medication, food, important paperwork and phone numbers, first aid kit, flashlight, extra set of clothing, etc. Put them in an easy accessible place that you can grab in a hurry when needed.
Pray and never stop.
Even planning sometimes have its' problems and may not work out like you plan it too, but at least you will be able to help get your family to safety if you just do some of these things. I know I am not an expert but after watching so much television on these hurricanes and how they affected people, I learned a couple things to do to help myself and family.