People are starting to plan for the worst in the aftermath of devastating wildfires across California and previous hurricane seasons that have impacted many states.

Notification via the media, and even newer, more cutting-edge technology like the mass-notification system IRIS (Immediate Response Information System), which automatically delivers information through multiple channels, including cell phones, e mails, PDAs, and pagers to thousands of citizens, is increasing in popularity. Florida’s school systems have adopted IRIS.

However, what are the next steps once residents have been advised to evacuate? These tips will assist you in evacuating safely and quickly.

* Have it in tow. You should ensure that each member of your family has enough water, clothing, and food for three days. You should plan to bring at least one gallon water per person each day. Don’t forget your important documents like birth certificates, social insurance cards, and homeowner’s policy. You might also find it useful to have your address book so that you can reach family members and friends in case of emergency. If you have the time, make sure to pick up prescription medication, cash, and a full tank.

* Map your evacuation. It is essential to have a family plan in place before you are faced with an emergency. You should decide on a place where your family can meet in the event of an emergency. You should also map out the evacuation routes for your area and ensure you are well-informed about them.

* Secure your home. Secure your home by locking all doors and windows and unplugging appliances.

For information on evacuation procedures, visit the Web sites of your state and city. Visit the IRIS website for more information on emergency response systems like IRIS.