When I first saw local maps on the list of preparedness items, I thought why in the world would I need that? I have lived in my local area for some time and already know the streets and can easily navigate around with no map at all.
But then I remembered the stories I heard from other public works professionals who responded to disasters, especially tornadoes. They said so many trees and other features including street signs are often impacted that when you show up in the area, you have no idea where you are – everything is gone. So a paper map would help me to at least navigate through streets even if well known features are no longer there to guide me.
The other idea I found online is to use that local map to create a Resiliency Map. This is a paper map which has specific places identified that might help me after a disaster – things like gas stations, hospitals, hazardous chemical sites, police or fire call boxes, cisterns or other water sources, and schools or other sites that are important to my family. The idea is to print out a map from Open Street Map or another online source and draw on or use stickers to mark the specific types of places mentioned above.
Several people I know seem to also believe they would not need something like a paper map because of the maps on their phones. But during a disaster it is important to not rely on Internet or cell service because it might not be available. I know a paper map seems so old school now that we are all so reliant on our phones, but in a disaster it might be all we have.
We have a State of Illinois map so I’ll throw one of those in the kit. And I will print out an online map of my area and add important sites to make it a resiliency map that can also go into the kit.
As a side note, throughout this series of posts about getting prepared, I may mention certain products, services, agencies, etc. At no time is it my intention to promote a specific product or service or agency. Each is mentioned only for informational purposes. Of course as a government employee, I do receive a salary from the government for the time I work on my job which by the way is not affiliated with this site, but I don’t receive any compensation from any commercial entities I mention or include in these posts.