Evacuation Tips

Steps to prepare for evacuations:

  • Keep a full tank of gas in your car if an evacuation seems likely. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies or unable to pump gas during power outages.
  • Make transportation arrangements with friends or family if you do not own a vehicle.

What to do when you are instructed to evacuate:

  • Follow instructions of local emergency officials.
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio.
  • Take one car per household when evacuating. This will keep your household together and reduce traffic congestion and delays.
  • Drive with your headlights on for visibility.
  • Drive calmly with special attention to public safety vehicles.
  • Do not attempt to re-enter the area until officials declare it safe for re-entry.

If time allows, also follow the steps listed below:

  • Take your emergency supply kit with you.
  • Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
  • Secure your home. Close and lock doors and windows.
  • Unplug electrical appliances. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding.
  • If instructed to do so, shut off the electricity, gas, and water before leaving.
  • Let others know when you are leaving and where you are going; tell them verbally or post a note on your home before leaving.
  • 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.
  • Open curtains and window coverings.
  • Cluster lawn furniture and other items in your yard that might snag firefighter hose-lines.
  • Leave exterior lights on; this will help firefighters find your house in the smoke.
  • Do not leave garden sprinklers on; they can waste critical water pressure.


In the event that an evacuation is necessary, local authorities will do their best to notify the public, but you should not depend on this entirely. Often, a disaster can strike with little or no warning, providing local authorities insufficient time to issue an evacuation order. Also, it is possible that you may not hear of an evacuation order because of communication failure, power failure, or simply not listening to a radio at the time the evacuation order was announced. In the absence of evacuation instructions from local authorities, you should evacuate if you feel that your household is threatened or endangered.

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