A good continuity of operations plan has a safe evacuation route and has been properly communicated to all residents and business owners.

Updated evacuation plans also need residents to be up to date

City and town officials can create and develop as fine-tuned of an evacuation plan as they like, but without keeping residents and business owners informed of any changes, the continuity of operations plan will be incomplete. There needs to not only be a safe route to either walk or drive toward safety, but individuals must have a complete understanding of what they must do. That way, they can keep themselves and those around them safe, while not interfering with emergency responders.

One town in New Jersey wants to use its portion of grant money from the state to create a better evacuation plan for its elementary school.

"These grants enable municipalities to stretch their resources and advance important roadway projects and other safety and quality-of-life improvements that benefit all who share the road, including pedestrians and bicyclists," Department of Transportation commissioner James Simpson said in a press release

Long Hill officials plan to use their portion of the grant – $40,000 – to improve a walkway that will allow elementary school students to safely evacuate from the building in an emergency situation. Currently, there is not an ideal option for the children and administrators to migrate from one location to another.

According to The New Jersey Hills, town officials want to update a trail that runs through the woods between the Long Hill Senior Center and the soccer fields at Riverside Park, adjacent to Town Hall – the chosen destination for safety.

After a route has been planned, it is important for town officials to keep two-way communication open with residents. That way, if hot sites are chosen, or other important details are specified, all members of the community can make an effort to react calmly and rationally when an emergency does occur.