Preparing to Evacuate Coastal Areas in Advance of a Hurricane
MEMA Offers Hurricane Preparedness Tips
FRAMINGHAM, MA – As part of its month-long hurricane preparedness initiative, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is urging residents of coastal communities to develop home evacuation plans and be prepared to evacuate areas that may be inundated with flood waters as a result of an approaching hurricane or tropical storm.
“If evacuation is necessary because of an approaching hurricane or tropical storm, residents and workers in an evacuation zone must respond quickly, responsibly and safely, states Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz. “Public safety officials closely monitor hurricanes and tropical storms as they move towards New England, and evacuation decisions will be announced well in advance of landfall so that people have sufficient time to move to safety. Keys to successful evacuations include ensuring that residents of coastal communities monitor approaching storms, receive evacuation orders in a timely manner, have home and business evacuation plans, and follow those plans when evacuation orders are issued.”
MEMA offers the following hurricane evacuation preparedness tips:
Plan Ahead for an Evacuation
- If you reside or work in a coastal community, contact your municipal emergency management agency or other local officials to learn about the risks of coastal flooding in your community and neighborhood. To learn whether you live or work in a designated hurricane evacuation zone, use the interactive Know Your Evacuation Zone map on MEMA’s website. If you live or work in designated evacuation zone you should be prepared to evacuate before a hurricane or tropical storm makes landfall.
- Know how to receive emergency information, including recommendations or orders to evacuate.
- Sign up for your community’s emergency alerting system.
- Monitor news broadcasts.
- Download Massachusetts Alerts to your smartphone. This is a free app from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
- Follow MEMA on Twitter or Facebook.
- Follow your local emergency management agency and other local public safety agencies on social media.
- Make a Family Emergency Plan. If you must evacuate, know where you will go, how you will get there, what you will bring. Make sure that your plan includes provisions for managing children, seniors, and family members with disabilities or medical issues. Include your pets in your Family Emergency Plan. While service animals will be allowed inside shelters, household pets are not allowed in all shelters. See MEMA’s Pets and Animals in Emergencies webpage for additional tips. Remember: “If you go, they go!
- Assemble an Emergency Kit. Keep your supplies in an easy-to-carry kit that you can take with you in case you must evacuate.
- If you or a family member may require special assistance to evacuate, ask local officials about special assistance programs or registries.
- If you undergo routine medical treatments or receive home health services, work with your service provider in advance to understand their emergency plan and to find backup providers that you might use in an emergency.
- Keep your car fueled if an evacuation seems likely. Gas stations may be closed during an emergency, or unable to pump gas during power outages.
- If you do not have personal transportation or a way to evacuate, make arrangements with family, friends or your local government.
If Asked to Evacuate
- Listen carefully to instructions and information from public safety officials and evacuate immediately.
- Gather only essential items; take your emergency kit. Remember you may be away from home for up to a few days.
- Tell your family emergency contact where you are going.
- Advise family members who are outside the area not to return home.
- Wear appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes.
- If you go to a shelter, notify staff of any special needs you or your family may have.
- If designated evacuation routes are established, follow the routes; other routes might be blocked. Expect heavy traffic.
- Do not return to the evacuation area until the evacuation order is lifted.
- Do not call 9-1-1 unless you have an emergency. Call your local non-emergency number, or 2-1-1 for non-emergency information or questions.
If you have enough time before you leave
- Elevate valuable items to higher points within your home in case of flooding.
- Secure outdoor items (lawn furniture, grills, hanging plants, trashcans, awnings, toys, etc.) or move them indoors.
- Close and lock windows and doors.
- Turn off lights and appliances. Turn off water, electricity, and gas (if instructed to do so).
- Check with neighbors to see if they need assistance.
Visit www.mass.gov/mema for comprehensive preparedness tips and information.
MEMA is the state agency charged with ensuring the state is prepared to withstand, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters, including natural hazards, accidents, deliberate attacks, and technological and infrastructure failures. MEMA's staff of professional planners, communications specialists and operations and support personnel is committed to an all hazards approach to emergency management. By building and sustaining effective partnerships with federal, state and local government agencies, and with the private sector - individuals, families, non-profits and businesses - MEMA ensures the Commonwealth's ability to rapidly recover from large and small disasters by assessing and mitigating threats and hazards, enhancing preparedness, ensuring effective response, and strengthening our capacity to rebuild and recover.
For additional information about MEMA and Hurricane Preparedness, go to www.mass.gov/mema. Continue to follow MEMA updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MassEMA; Facebook at www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA; and YouTube at www.youtube.com/MassachusettsEMA.
Massachusetts Alerts: to receive emergency information on your smartphone, including severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service and emergency information from MEMA, download the Massachusetts Alerts free app. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone, visit: www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp.