Safety Tips for Evacuations

A wide variety of emergencies may require you to evacuate your home or business.

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A wide variety of emergencies may require you to evacuate your home or business.  In some instances, you may have ample time to prepare to evacuate.  But, in some situations, an evacuation must be immediate.  Planning ahead ensures that you are able to evacuate quickly and safety.  Know what to bring with you when you evacuate, how you will communicate with family and friends, where you will go, and how you will receive critical information from public safety officials.  Public safety officials will communicate the need to evacuate through various means, including the media, social media, and alerting systems.

Before the Storm or Emergency

  • Create a Family Emergency Plan that includes how you will exit your home, where you will go, how you will get there, and how you will communicate with your family if you are asked to evacuate. Be sure to incorporate the needs of your family into this plan. If you or a family member requires regular care, request a list of backup providers who would be available during a disaster.
  • Make a plan that outlines where you will take your for your pets and animals during an evacuation.
  • Learn how to receive alerts and important public information before, during, and after an emergency.
  • Find out if you live or work in a designated hurricane evacuation zone.  
  • Assemble a portable emergency kit to bring with you during the evacuation.
  • Always keep your car’s gas tank full. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies.

Additional considerations during COVID-19 pandemic

During COVID-19, your family emergency plan should include what you might do differently given the public health guidance.

  • Your plan to evacuate should include where you might evacuate to (such as a relatives' home, hotel, etc.) given your family's circumstances.
  • If you do have to evacuate:
    • Consider going to a hotel or other location where you may have less contact with others
    • Bring key emergency supplies including face coverings, disinfectants and hand sanitizer
    • Wear face coverings in public places
    • Maintain social distancing six feet apart with those outside your household

If You Are Asked to Evacuate

  • Listen carefully to instructions and information from public safety officials. Evacuate immediately.
  • Gather only essential items and take your emergency kit.
  • Follow your Family Emergency Plan.
    • Tell your family emergency contact where you are going.
    • Advise family members who are outside the area to not return home.
    • Remember to take your pets. If you go, they go!
  • Wear appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes.
  • If you go to a shelter, notify staff of any special needs you or your family may have.
  • Stay away from the disaster area until you are advised that it is safe to return.

If there is time before you evacuate:

  • Lock all your windows and doors.
  • Unplug appliances and electric equipment.
  • Check with your neighbors to see if they need assistance.

Call 2-1-1 for information about emergency shelters, transportation restrictions, or to ask any other questions about emergency evacuations. Only call 9-1-1 if you need immediate assistance from police, fire, or emergency medical services.

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