Emergency Preparedness Essentials


Evacuating During A Disaster

Prepare yourself in advance for an evacuation. Evacuations happen more often than most would think. Fires, floods, and hurricanes cause the most evacuations a year and some transportation and industrial accidents which release harmful substances also cause many people to evacuate.

Sometimes evacuations are mandatory because the situation is so hazardous. Other times, the individuals and families can choose whether or not to stay in their homes or evacuate to avoid any danger. In the case of a mandatory evacuation, local officials will give information to the public through warning methods such as media use, sirens, emails, telephone calls, or text alerts.

The time you have to prepare depends on the hazard. In some cases, such as hurricanes, you may have hours or days to prepare. Other times though the disaster will allow for no time which makes planning ahead critical.

Plan ahead for different routes and different locations you can go for different disasters. Make sure each family member knows where to go and how to get there in the case of each emergency.

Guidelines for Evacuation

Sometimes you will choose to get away and other times you may be ordered to leave. Evacuation guidelines are as follows:
  • Use the Family Emergency Plan to decide on the locations inside and outside of your neighborhood where you will meet before the disaster strikes.
  • If you have a car make sure that you always have a half tank of gas in it. If evacuation seems likely, keep a full tank. Gas stations may be unable to pump during emergencies. Try to limit the family to one car to avoid delay and reduce congestion.
  • Know the alternate routes and alternate transportation in your area. Choose several options for destinations and several directions to them so you can have options in case of an emergency.
  • In order to avoid severe weather traps, leave early.
  • Donít take shortcuts because they could be blocked. Instead follow evacuation routes that are recommended.
  • Donít drive into flooded areas. Look out for washed out roads, bridges, downed power lines, and other road hazards.
  • Make arrangements with friends, family, government, etc. for how you will leave if you donít have a car.
  • Unless you think it is contaminated, take your emergency supply kit.
  • Make sure you have a battery-powered radio with you that you will listen to and follow for evacuation instructions.
  • Although only service animals will be allowed in public shelters, you still need to take your pets. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency.
If there is time:
  • Tell the out-of-state family connection from your family communications plan where you are going.
  • Close and lock doors and the windows to secure your home.
  • Radios, small appliances, and TVs should be unplugged along with all other electrical equipment. Keep refrigerators and freezers on unless there is the possibility of flooding. If you are told to and there is damage in the home, shut off gas, water, and electricity before leaving.
  • Remember to write down and leave a note telling others where you went and when you left.
  • Clothing that gives protection, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, caps, etc. should be warn along with sturdy shoes.
  • See if any of your neighbors may need a ride.
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