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Preparing to evacuate

Expect the need to evacuate and prepare for it. The National Weather Service will issue a hurricane watch when there is a threat to coastal areas of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours.

When a hurricane watch is issued, you should:

  • Fill your automobile's gas tank.
  • If no vehicle is available, make arrangements with friends or family for transportation.
  • Fill your clean water containers.
  • Review your emergency plans and supplies, checking to see if any items are missing.
  • Tune in the radio or television for weather updates.
  • Listen for disaster sirens and warning signals.
  • Prepare an emergency kit for your car with food, flares, booster cables, maps, tools, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, sleeping bags, etc.
  • Secure any items outside which may damage property in a storm, such as bicycles, grills, propane tanks, etc.
  • Cover windows and doors with plywood or boards or place large strips of masking tape or adhesive tape on the windows to reduce the risk of breakage and flying glass.
  • Put livestock and family pets in a safe area. Due to food and sanitation requirements, emergency shelters cannot accept animals.
  • Place vehicles under cover, if at all possible.
  • Fill sinks and bathtubs with water as an extra supply for washing.
  • Adjust the thermostat on refrigerators and freezers to the coolest possible temperature.

If You are Ordered to Evacuate

Because of the destructive power of a hurricane, you should never ignore an evacuation order. Authorities will be most likely to direct you to leave if you are in a low-lying area, or within the greatest potential path of the storm. Be aware that most shelters and some hotels do not accept pets. If a hurricane warning is issued for your area or you are directed by authorities to evacuate the area:

  • Take only essential items with you.
  • If you have time, turn off the gas, electricity, and water.
  • Disconnect appliances to reduce the likelihood of electrical shock when power is restored.
  • Make sure your automobile's emergency kit is ready.
  • Follow the designated evacuation routes—others may be blocked—and expect heavy traffic.

Source:  CDC.gov
Last reviewed:  6/14/06

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