When to evacuate
- Act immediately, stay calm and take your disaster supply kit.
- Remember as you leave your house to do the following: Turn off lights, household gas appliances, heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems. Leave your refrigerator/freezer turned on. Lock your home.
- Use the phone only in case of an emergency, injury or illness. Keep any calls brief.
- Do not listen to rumors. Refer to local radio or television for up-to-date information from public officials during an emergency.
- Use only one vehicle for your family. If you have room, assist any neighbors that may need a ride.
- Tune to Emergency Alerting System 870 AM or 101.9 FM radio stations for reports about evacuation routes, conditions, etc. Use those travel routes specified.
- Drive safely. Traffic will be heavy. Law enforcement officials along the route will help with traffic.
- If you need a ride, try to go with a neighbor, friend, or relative.
- Let others know when you leave and where you are going.
- Make arrangements for pets. Animals are generally not permitted in public shelters, although a few do allow them. Pet carriers are recommended along with pet supplies.
If no evacuation has been ordered, but a hurricane watch has been issued, what should you do?
GO: If you live in a mobile home or in a storm surge or flood zone, your decision to stay or go is easy. At the first announcement of a hurricane watch, you should complete the tasks in the Hurricane Watch checklist and prepare to leave. If you haven’t already made shelter arrangements for you and your pets, and a hurricane watch has been issued for your area, now is the time for you to prevail upon the hospitality of a nearby friend or relative in an area safe from surge and flooding. It’s likely already too late to find a safe hotel room - or shelter for your pet.
STAY: If you are not in a storm surge or flood zone and live in a home you have hurricane-proofed, have developed a Family Disaster Plan and have assembled a Disaster Survival Kit, your decision is equally easy. Review your plan with family members, double-check your window protection and your disaster supplies, notify your out-of-state family contact that a hurricane is threatening, and work your way through the Hurricane Watch Checklist. If a Hurricane Warning is issued, work your way through that Checklist and prepare to ride out the storm.
DECIDE AT THE TIME: If you live in a reasonably well-constructed home you have not hurricane-proofed, you face a difficult choice. You will generally be safer in the safest interior area of your home than in your car, and the more dangerous the storm, the more likely you are to face gridlock while trying to evacuate the area. If you are lucky, handy with a hammer and saw, and willing to endure long lines at your building supply store, you may have time to protect your garage doors and windows.