Evacuation Tips

Hundreds of times each year, people are forced to leave their homes because of natural disasters, transportation or industrial accidents, fires or floods. You may have only minutes to escape to safety and you should be prepared to leave immediately when notified. Evacuation periods may last for hours or days, dependent on the emergency, so you should be ready to care for yourself and your family for a minimum of three days.

If you are told to evacuate, please follow these simple tips:

  • Turn on your radio or television and be prepared to follow all instructions by emergency authorities
  • Take your Disaster Supply Kit
  • Lock your home as you leave
  • Post a note on your door telling others where you have gone. Local police will be patrolling the neighborhoods
  • Use only the travel routes established by the authorities. Keep your car radio on for updates
  • Select a safe place to go prior to an evacuation if there is time, try to accomplish these helpful tasks: shut off all utilities before leaving (only if you know how to do so safely). Contact your Gas Company when you return for service resumption
  • Tie a white ribbon or cloth on the front door knob. This will alert emergency authorities that this home has been evacuated.


Sheltering in place is what you do when you take cover during a tornado warning, severe weather warning or hazardous material threat that is determined to be an irritant rather than a poison and the risk to health is greater from evacuation than just staying put. Follow these tips for in-place sheltering:

  • Close and lock all windows and doors
  • Turn off all fans, heating and air-conditioning systems
  • Close the fireplace damper
  • Turn off all the electrical power if you know the proper procedure
  • Go to your basement for a storm, or the most interior room without windows with a chemical threat, an above ground location is better because most chemicals are heavier than air and may seep into the basement
  • Turn on your battery powered radio and listen for further instructions
  • Make sure you have an evacuation plan in place in case an evacuation is ordered