If you live along the coast or in any territory near the Atlantic or Pacific ocean, it’s crucial that your family has a clear and thorough evacuation plan that is updated every hurricane season. Preparing a hurricane evacuation plan before disaster strikes will help keep you, your loved ones, and your pets safe, as well as help prevent damage to any property you are forced to leave behind.
While there are some cases when an evacuation order is declared a few days in advance of the storm surge, this is not always the case. Therefore, planning ahead is critical to help minimize your stress in a high-stress situation. Your emergency hurricane evacuation plan should include:
- A designated meeting place – Because an evacuation order can be given at a moment’s notice, your family might not all be together in one place. If your family isn’t together when the emergency order goes into effect, decide on a meeting place to reconnect where it will be safe to quickly convene. Be sure to consider the proximity to your places of work and children’s school locations.
- An out-of-state family or friend emergency contact – In the event that your family is separated, this one person who lives in the area and will not be affected by the storm can be in charge of keeping everyone accounted for in route.
- Emergency Cards – Emergency cards should contain your meeting places along with any important addresses and phone numbers. Each person should always have an electronic and physical copy as a backup.
- A designated shelter or safe location – The FEMA website has a list of shelters nearest you that should be open during an active disaster. Once you have identified your shelter, be sure that your emergency contact is aware of its location and information.
- Evacuation routes – Map out the route to your public evacuation shelter from your home, place of work, school, and meeting location. It is important to include alternate routes as flooding, fallen trees, and washed-out bridges might cause roadblocks that will force you to change your path.
- Pet care – Certain public shelters do not allow pets, so do your research ahead of time and figure out what shelters, pet-friendly hotels, out-of-town friends or relatives would be able to house your pet(s) during a hurricane.
- Get your car ready – Make sure your car’s gas tank is full and is in your garage or undercover. Double-check that your tires have enough tread and have a mechanic check for any potential issues you may have. Further, keep an emergency kit in your car including:
- Jumper cables
- Flares or reflective triangle
- Cell phone charger
- Local and regional road maps
- Ice scraper
- Gas can
- Garbage bags
- Paper towels
- A towline
Pack your hurricane emergency bag: You should have a small bag ready to go at all times with essentials to survive a few days from home. This bag should include:
- Emergency Cash
- Emergency nonperishable food and water supply
- Changes of clothes to last a couple of days
- Any medicine you may need
- A first aid kit
- Emergency power sources and extra batteries to charge your necessities like flashlights, phones, and radios
- Copies of your important documents like insurance policies, house deeds, identification cards, passports, wills, and a printed evacuation plan. Be sure to keep these items somewhere where they will be safe from water.
- A fire extinguisher – make sure your family knows where it is located and how to use it. For fire extinguishers, safety tips check out the NFPA website here.
Preparing your evacuation plan ahead of time will allow you to better take on the unexpected and focus on keeping you and your loved ones safe in the event of an emergency. Note that this list does not cover everything and you will likely add more based on your family’s specific needs. However, we hope that this list will serve as a good starting place for creating your family’s evacuation guide and help give you some peace of mind.
Learn more about hurricane preparation here, and if you need any help or have any questions regarding protecting your hard-earned assets during hurricane season, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us anytime!