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Evacuating Before The Storm

June 17, 2019

Deciding whether to leave your home when a powerful storm may be approaching can be a
difficult choice. Many people want to remain in their homes rather than face the inconvenience
of evacuating. The most important thing is staying safe, so residents should evacuate if they:

  • Are told to do so by authorities
  • Live in a high-rise building, or in a mobile home or temporary structure
  • Live in a designated hurricane evacuation zone where evacuations have been ordered
  • Live in a floodplain or near a coast, river, or island waterway

Tips for Preparation

  • Instead of depending on a public evacuation center, ask friends or family outside the evacuation area if you, your family, and pets can ride out the storm with them.
  • Locate your nearest evacuation centers and monitor local media to find out when they will open. If you have a pet, ask whether the centers allow them.
  • If you will be using a public evacuation shelter, stock up on non-perishable food, water, bedding, and games or books for each family member.
  • Use the document listing (see page 12) to make sure you gather all necessary information.
  • Fill all prescriptions for medications you and any family members will need while away from home.
  • Decide where your family members will meet after the storm, in case they get separated during the evacuation. Identify a primary meeting location and a backup.
  • Share the workload — designate one person to pack supplies into the family vehicle, and another person to listen for evacuation orders.
  • Gather maps and print driving directions to your shelter, because cell phones and GPS devices may lack service or a power source.

Tips for Evacuating

  • Listen to official instructions, and don’t panic. Stay calm, and be sure to listen to orders at least twice to make sure you understand them properly.
  • Before leaving your home, unplug electric appliances, turn off water at the main valve, and shut off all electricity at the breaker box.
  • Pack your vehicle with everything you planned to take, and go to your designated evacuation center or other location you already identified.
  • Listen for storm-related updates on local radio, social media, or websites.
  • Make sure your children have access to games or activities, and be prepared for long stretches without power (so don’t depend solely on devices with videos or electronic games to keep the little ones occupied).
  • Whether you are traveling to an out-of-town hotel or to stay with friends or family, stay on your planned evacuation route until you are out of the evacuation area. Leave other roads clear for emergency officials.

Click here to download our hurricane resource guide for keeping yourself, your loved ones, and your property safe throughout this year’s hurricane season.