Having a family evacuation plan in place can help keep your family safe during many different types of crises. Here are some situations that could make an evacuation necessary:
- Natural disasters like flooding, tropical storms, wildfires (learn how to prepare your family for flooding)
- Viral outbreak
- Hazardous substance exposures from chemical spills
- Military engagements
You’ll want to put together a family evacuation plan based on where you live and your own lifestyle as these factors affect which types of emergency situations your family is most likely to experience.
What to Consider for Your Evacuation Plan
There’s a lot to consider as you create a family evacuation plan:
- How can your family reconnect if an evacuation is ordered during the work/school day?
- Does your community have established evacuation routes and procedures?
- Have a communication plan. How can you get messages to each other if evacuation is ordered when the family’s not together?
- Should the family plan to reconnect at home or another location before evacuating?
- Will you use your family vehicle or another method of transportation to relocate?
- Do you know how and when to shut off your home’s utilities in the event of an evacuation? You should be able to shut off the water, gas, and electricity for your home.
Evacuation Safety Tips
These tips can help your family stay safe during an evacuation:
- Teach kids basic personal information as early as possible. They should learn your home address, phone number, full names of family members and where they work or go to school.
- Plan your evacuation ahead of time and practice it yearly. Knowing what to expect can help family members stay calm if an actual emergency takes place (See our tips for creating a reliable family evacuation drill).
- Aim to keep your vehicles filled with fuel. Supplies can run out fast in an emergency situation. Fill up when your gauge approaches the halfway mark as much as you can.
- Order a family disaster kit suitable for travel. Keep lightweight supplies packed and ready to go that include personal hygiene supplies, a change of clothes for each family member, 3 days worth of food and water, medications, personal documents, and warm blankets. Consider investing in our personal must-have supplies for your family disaster kit and keeping the priority items in your vehicle at all times.
Your family might have special circumstances to keep in mind during an evacuation. For example:
- Do you have pets? Will they be able to remain with you as you evacuate or will you bring them to a shelter?
- Does anyone in your family have a disability that needs to be considered as part of your evacuation?
- Would a “buddy system” be appropriate for your family in any way? If your family is on the larger side, you may benefit from this approach.
- Do you have neighbors that might need assistance during an evacuation? Are you able to plan for them to travel with you?
Has your area ever been ordered to evacuate? What event might lead your family to evacuate?