TYPHOON SEASON PREP: Have an evacuation plan.

With the stormy season on the way it’s important to make sure you have an evacuation plan. Now, I know what you’re thinking why do I need an evacuation plan if there is a typhoon? The reason is because if there is a really bad storms it’s important to know how to get out of the area and make sure that you can keep your family safe. Don’t forget stores usually bring highways flooding as well as flying debris. This means that sometimes you need to leave your home especially if you’re in a low-lying area. Ideally you will have evacuated before conditions get bad however, it is also important to have an emergency evacuation route in the event that you need to move to a safer location during a storm.

So, who should consider having an evacuation plan?

Everyone should have a plan on how to evacuate your home and more importantly your neighborhood in case of emergency. This is not only important during typhoon season but also in the event of a earthquake, tsunami, or another catastrophic event. It is especially important for those in low-lying areas or who live on what is described as loose ground to have an evacuation plan. This will ensure that if there is a risk of flood or landslide you have a way to evacuate.

What is a good evacuation plan?

A good evacuation plan will give you and your family at least three ways to get out of your neighborhood into a safe area. Although three ways seems like a lot it’s important to prepare for the event that something is blocking one of the routes. This could be degree from the storm or flooding. In other cases it may even be a landslide. Having three ways to get out of your neighborhood makes sure that you have not cornered yourself in a particular spot if there is an obstruction in your path.

How do I make my evacuation plan?

The best way to prepare your evaluation plan is to go on walks or drive through your neighborhood paying close attention to the roads and how they can be navigated. Being familiar with the roads and streets in your neighborhood is your first line of defense if you need to evacuate. Here in Japan navigating small road can be difficult and so it is important to become familiar before an emergency situation.

Once you are familiar with the roads and streets in your neighborhood prepare yourself a plan on how to move though them smoothly. This may include making a map or even taking a weekly walk with the family on this route. And sure that your family is familiar with the route so that you can evacuate in an emergency. Not only is this a fun way to explore the area but it is also a great way to keep your family fit and active.

I have evacuated my house now what?

Having a safe route out of your neighborhood is the first step. The second step is to have a safe place to go with your family. Ideally this location would be close to your home so that you do not have to travel far. I highly recommend talking to a friend or neighbor which will help you prepare a location to go with your family if you have to evacuate.

What if it’s too dangerous to go far?

If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot evacuate very far because conditions have become too dangerous it is important to know a place to go where you can seek shelter. Finding a place where you could seek shelter in extreme conditions is something that you can easily do while on a walk around your neighborhood. One area to consider is parking structures on high ground. Generally speaking parking structures which are surrounded by at least three sides can be a place to seek shelter in extreme storm conditions if you have absolutely no other option. I would like to stress that this is an absolute last resort and you should strongly consider evacuating if there is any doubt before the storm hits.

How do I know that I should evacuate?

Whether or not you should evacuate is most times a matter of personal opinion. However, it is extremely important to pay close attention to reports about flooding, high waves, and landslides. I will discuss these conditions in a future post and how you can stay updated.  If there is any doubt in your mind that you may be in a place that could suffer from one of those conditions evacuation should take place prior to the storm making landfall. Best case scenario this should be at least 12 hours before the storm hits. Although it may seem a little bit extreme it is better then being caught in a dangerous situation.

If you did not realize that you would be at risk until the storm has already made landfall pay close attention to your surroundings as well as the progression of the storm. This will help you determine whether or not it is safe to evacuate or if you should wait until the storm slows slightly due to a passing ban. I will talk more about this in a future post to help you determine what it is you need to do in an emergency situation.


The most important tool you can have when in Typhoon season here in Okinawa is proper planning. Without proper planning you will be at a great disadvantage. Although it may seem a bit over-the-top to have all of these areas taken into consideration I highly recommend being prepared rather then finding yourself stranded and without a plan.

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