Hurricane Evacuation Plan

When community evacuations become necessary, local officials provide information to the public through the media. In some circumstances, other warning methods, such as sirens or telephone calls, also are used. Additionally, there may be circumstances under which you and your family feel threatened or endangered and you need to leave your home, school, or workplace to avoid these situations.

The amount of time you have to leave will depend on the hazard. If the event is a weather condition, such as a hurricane that can be monitored, you might have a day or two to get ready. However, many disasters allow no time for people to gather even the most basic necessities, which is why planning ahead is essential.

Evacuations are more common than many people realize. Hundreds of times each year, transportation and industrial accidents release harmful substances, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes. Fires and floods cause evacuations even more frequently. Almost every year, people along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts evacuate in the face of approaching hurricanes. Ask local authorities about emergency evacuation routes and see if maps may are available with evacuation routes marked.

Evacuation Guidelines

ALWAYS:

  • Keep a full tank of gas in your car if an evacuation seems likely. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages. Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.
  • Make transportation arrangements with friends or your local government if you do not own a car.
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
  • Gather your family and go if you are instructed to evacuate immediately.
  • Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.
  • Be alert for washed-out roads and bridges. Do not drive into flooded areas.
  •  Stay away from downed power lines.

WHEN TIME PERMITS:

  • Gather your disaster supplies kit.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a cap.
  • Secure your home by closing and locking doors and windows.
  • Unplug electrical equipment, such as radios and televisions, and small appliances, such as toasters and microwaves. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding.
  • Let others know where you are going.

EVACUATE:

  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
  • If you feel you are in danger.

IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO EVACUATE:

  • If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room.
  • If you do not have safe room, stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm - winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.


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