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Creating an Evacuation Plan

In the event of a catastrophe, time may be limited; therefore, being prepared to evacuate is critical.

A well-constructed emergency evacuation plan should account for the survival gear you may need, such as a household safety kit, but it also should be updated from time to time to account for children or special needs people in your household.

Important Tasks to Consider

  • Designate a car for possible evacuation and keep it filled with gas, especially during seasons when the risk level is highest for natural disasters.
  • Pack an emergency car kit if a catastrophe is imminent.
  • Research your community's predetermined evacuation routes. Map the safest areas and routes through which to evacuate your house.
  • Identify a primary and backup meeting place—remember that in the event of an emergency not all spots will be accessible.
  • Identify multiple emergency transit routes in all directions to a primary and a secondary meeting location.
  • Know where your nearest evacuation shelters are located.
  • Keep a battery-powered radio on hand in the event of lost power.
  • Stay tuned to local radio stations where you can be updated on the status of events.
  • Be able to identify warning sirens in your area if electronic communication is not available.
  • If you receive instruction to evacuate, do so immediately. Do not wait or delay, as doing so can leave you at risk of being trapped.
  • Follow evacuation routes strictly, and avoid shortcuts.
  • Have a plan for your pets— shelters may not accept them.
  • If time permits, close and lock all doors and windows, and shut off your utilities.
  • Keep your distance from downed power lines.
  • Look out for washed-out or blocked roads and bridges, and never drive into flooded areas, as these waters can be deceptively deep and powerful.

Other Considerations

Anticipate that children may become frightened and will look to you for guidance and reassurance. Discuss with your children and other family members the possibility that you may be temporarily separated from pets during an evacuation. Practicing emergency evacuation drills will help everyone involved react appropriately if the time comes. Having the knowledge and understanding ahead of time of what could happen will greatly reduce stress during a time when it is most important to be calm.