An Evacuation Plan documents the steps you will take in the event of an emergency that requires you to leave your home, such as an approaching hurricane. By planning ahead, you will significantly reduce the stress associated with this difficult task. Your plan should answer the following questions:
Consider such things as birth certificates, insurance policies, automobile titles, among others. Store scanned copies of these vital documents online in case you are unable to access them prior to an evacuation order (or store them in an offsite location such as a safe deposit box).
You will not have much time to consider what you need, so having a detailed list will make the task of packing much faster and more organized. Each family member should bring clothing needed to accommodate the weather as well as the various activities they will engage in, such as sleep, cleanup, and work.
For children, this may include a favorite stuffed animal or toy. It may include prosthetic devices, prescription glasses, or special needs equipment (such as a baby-carrier or bottles for an infant).
Very young children and senior citizens often need a steady dose of unique foods (such as infant formula) and medications. Be sure that you have an ample supply with you as you prepare to leave as it may be difficult or impossible to find these items in the initial days of an evacuation.
You may need to move furniture and other possessions to higher floors if flooding is imminent, or to shutter up windows and doors, and move outside items inside if a hurricane is on its way.
Be familiar with evacuation routes. Plan several evacuation routes in the event that certain roads are blocked or closed. Remember to follow the advice of disaster officials during an evacuation. They will direct you to the safest routes and away from roads that may be blocked or that might put you in further danger.
Hotels may not have vacancies during evacuations, so you should identify nearby shelters or friends and relatives who live far enough away as to not be affected by the disaster. If possible, identify shelters in the community that are most appropriate for your family’s needs (e.g., those that accept pets, if applicable).
Pets (other than service animals) usually are not permitted in public shelters or other places where food is served. Plan where you will take your pets if you have to go to a public shelter where they are not permitted.
Determine the best escape routes out of your home in case you have to leave quickly. Figure out how you will escape from upper floors if the stairs are blocked. Identify two ways out of each room.