Evacuations are a critical part of protecting those most important to you. Sometimes, you have days to get ready, like during a hurricane, and sometimes your home becomes unlivable in the blink of
an eye, like during a tornado or a wildfire. Here’s what to know about evacuating.
Before an Emergency
The time to plan for an evacuation is well before disaster strikes. Pick several destinations in different directions for your home in case that area, too, is affected. Consider your family’s needs when picking routes. Will you need to stop frequently? Do you have pets? Is there a chance you’ll need medical assistance? Choose routes that fit your needs.
Pack a bag to carry with you. Ideally, this should be one light back you can carry with you on foot or on public transportation. Pack clothing, some cash, a first-aid kit and any other supplies you’ll need to be away from home for an extended time. Also include a copy of your communications plan.
During an Evacuation
Listen to alerts from local officials on how to get out and for a list of public shelters, if you need one. Make sure to grab your go bag and check that all your information is up to date before you go. Refill your medications and add them to your kit. Don’t forget about your pets; grab food and any medications they take as well. Gas up your car and make sure it’s in good repair before leaving, and call your central contact on your family communication plan.
Secure Your Property
Grab your insurance paperwork and take steps to secure your property like boarding up windows and moving valuables to a second floor. Unplug appliances and electronics and, if local authorities instruct you to, shut off your water, gas and electricity.
Check on your neighbors, especially the elderly and vulnerable, then hit the road.
After the Evacuation
Do not return home until local officials clear you to do so. Plan for outages of electricity and other utilities for long periods and bring food and other supplies with you. Document any damage to property and work with your adjuster to process your claims quickly.