Evacuation Planning

There are many different types of emergency situations that your family can face. Depending on where you live, there is the possibility that certain disasters could force you to evacuate from your home. In anticipation of certain emergencies or natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, or wildfires, local officials often order mandatory evacuations. Having an emergency preparedness plan for such situations will help your family be able to get out of the path of danger.

Start with the basics. Evacuation situations can come with little warning, so you need to have a clear idea of where you can go and how you will get there. The best option is to go to the home of family or friends who live outside the evacuation area, but it is best to have multiple possible destinations in different directions so you have options in case one or more of your possible destinations is unavailable. It is also important to be aware of possible routes to get to your destination. Many states have recommended evacuation routes that provide the quickest and safest path out of danger. It is best to follow the recommended evacuation routes, but be aware of alternate routes that you may have to use instead.

Having a simple 72-hour kit for each member of your family is also important in an evacuation situation. Be sure your 72-hour kits are stocked with enough survival foods and clean water, as well as other items that could be useful in an emergency, such as a first aid kit, flashlights and batteries, cell phone chargers, and personal sanitation objects.

Make sure your vehicle is prepared. It is always best to keep your gas tank at least half full so that fueling up will not be an immediate issue should there be an unexpected need to evacuate. If you have more time to prepare, fill up your gas tank. Keep road maps in your car in case you need to find an alternate route to reach your destination. Also be sure that you have standard car repair items such as a spare tire, tire jack kit, jumper cables, etc., so that you can deal with any unexpected car trouble. While driving, stay away from flooded roadways and be alert for other potential dangers. Be aware of any neighbors or family members that could need a ride in an evacuation. If you do not have your own vehicle, plan ahead with neighbors, family, or friends so that you have a way to leave.

After an evacuation order has been issued, it is best to leave as early as possible. However, if time allows, there are some things you can do to secure your home and prevent possible damage from severe weather. Unplug electronic equipment such as computers and televisions, and shut off your gas, electricity, and water if so instructed. Close and lock all doors and windows; cover up windows with sturdy material if necessary.

Create an emergency preparedness plan that will be easy for your family to follow should an evacuation situation arise. Being adequately prepared could make all the difference that allows your family to get out in time.

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