How to Make a Threat Map

Threat Map

A “threat map” details the hazards in your area. It helps choose evacuation routes and a rendezvous point.

The explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas this week killed several people and injured many more. It brought to mind the “threat map” disaster expert Paul Purcell details in his book, Disaster Prep 101. (Look for a full review of the book soon.)

A threat map is something you create at home. It details potentially hazardous sites, like a fertilizer plant, should a disaster strike. Using readily available maps at places like Google Maps and Mapquest, the idea is to best assess where not to travel during an evacuation.

The following lists are from Disaster Prep 101. This is just a brief overview. The book contains a lot more detail on these subjects.

Maps to Gather to Create Your Threat Map

Street maps

Aerial photos of your workplace, children’s schools and your home

A city map

A county map

A state map

A national atlas

Start Making Your Threat Map

On each of the maps, mark the following things:

Potential targets of terrorist attacks

Prevailing wind directions – You’ll need this determine where to go if toxic chemicals are in the air. In the case of the fertilizer plant explosion, it would be a good idea to stay upwind.

Chemical, hazardous materials and nuclear sites

High-crime areas

Transportation bottlenecks

Flood plains

Any other hazard relevant to your area

Putting the Threat Map to Use

Disaster Prep 101A detailed threat map will help determine not only where to go in an emergency, but where to meet up (aka “rendezvous point”).

If you have questions about threat maps or any aspect of preparedness, be sure to meet Purcell in person at the 2013 Living Ready Expo. It’s taking place May 31 to June 2, 2013, at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta. He’ll be giving a presentation titled, Disaster Prep 101: Seeing the Solutions Around You. Click here to get tickets to the 2013 Living Ready Expo.

If you can’t make the Expo, be sure to order a copy of his book, Disaster Prep 101.