When community evacuations become necessary, local officials provide
information to the public through the media.
In some circumstances, other warning methods, such as sirens or telephone calls,
also are used.
Additionally, there may be circumstances under which you and your family feel
threatened or endangered and you need to leave your home,
school, or workplace to avoid these situations.
The amount of time you have to leave will depend on the hazard.
If the event is a weather condition, such as a hurricane
that can be monitored, you might have a day or two to get ready.
However, many disasters allow no time for people to
gather even the most basic necessities, which is why planning ahead is essential.
Evacuation: More Common than You Realize
Evacuations are more common than many people realize.
Hundreds of times each year, transportation and industrial
accidents release harmful substances, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes.
Fires and floods cause
evacuations even more frequently. Almost every year, people along the Gulf
and Atlantic coasts evacuate in the face of approaching hurricanes.
Ask local authorities about emergency evacuation routes and see if maps
may are available with evacuation routes marked.

Evacuation Guidelines

Keep a full tank of gas in your car if an evacuation seems likely.
Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages.
Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.
Make transportation arrangements with friends or your local government
if you do not own a car.
Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
Gather your family and go if you are in- structed to evacuate immediately.
Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
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.

Gather your disaster supplies kit.
Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection,
such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a cap.
Secure your home:
Close and lock doors and windows.
Unplug electrical equipment, such as radios and televisions, and small appliances,
such as toasters and microwaves. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in
unless there is a risk of flooding.
Let others know where you are going.

Individuals with Special Needs

Preparing and Planning
Additional Resources

If you or someone close to you has a disability or a special need,
you may have to take additional steps to protect yourself and your family
in an emergency.
If you have special needs: Find out about special assistance that may be available
in your community. Register with the office of emergency services or the local
fire department for assistance so needed help can be provided.

Disability/Special Need Additional Steps
Visually Impaired May be extremely reluctant to leave framiliar surroundings when the request
for evacuation comes from a stranger. A guide dog could become confused
or disoriented in a disaster. People who are blind or partially sighted may have to depend
on others to lead them, as well as their dog, to safety during a disaster.
Hearing Impaired May need to make special arrangements to receive warnings.
Mobility Impaired May need specisl assistance to get to a shelter.
Non-English speaking people May need assistance planning for and responding to emergencies.
Community and cultural groups may be able to keep people informed.
People without vehicles May need to make arrangements for transportation.
People with Special Dietary Needs Should take special precautions to have an adequate emergency food supply.
People with Medical Conditions Should know the location and availability of more than one facility if dependent
on a dialysis machine, or other life-sustaining equipment or treatment.
People with Mental Retardation May need help responding to emergencies and getting to a shelter.

People with Dementia, should be registered with the Alzheimer's
Assoc. safe return program.


Check for hazards in the home
During and right after a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury or damage.
Anything that can move, fall, break or cause fire is a home hazard.
Check for items such as bookcases, hanging pictures, or overhead lights that could fall
in an earthquake or a flood and block an escape path.

Be ready to evacuate
Have a plan for getting out of your home or building
(ask your family or friends for assistance, if necessary).
Also, plan two evacuation routes because some roads may be closed or blocked
in a disaster.
Create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends, and coworkers to aid you in
an emergency. Discuss your needs and make sure everyone knows
how to operate necessary equipment.
Discuss your needs with your employer.
If you are mobility impaired and live or work in a high-rise building,
have an escape chair.
If you live in an apartment building, ask the management to mark accessible
exits clearly and to make arrangements to help you leave the building.
Keep specialized items ready, including extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen,
catheters, medication, prescriptions, food for service animals,
and any other items you might need.
Be sure to make provisions for medications that require refrigeration.
Keep a list of the type and model numbers of the medical devices you require.
Wear medical alert tags or bracelets to identify your disability.
Know the location and availability of more than one facility if you are
dependent on a dialysis machine or other life-sustaining equipment or treatment.