Tips for planning a hurricane evacuation

July 28, 2015

Most hurricane deaths happen because of a refusal to evacuate. Don't be a statistic and evacuate  when instructed. Prepare for an evacuation before it's too late.

Tips for planning a hurricane evacuation

Before the storm comes

  • Identify ahead of time where you'll go — the home of a friend or relative in another town, a distant motel or an emergency shelter. Have both a first choice and a back-up plan.
  • In your car, keep a list of the phone numbers for these alternative shelters. You'll also need a road map — if roads are blocked or washed out, you may have to take unfamiliar routes.
  • Gather extra clothing and bedding to take along, as well as an emergency care kit.
  • Give an out-of-town friend or relative a list of family names and phone numbers to call in case of emergency. When disaster strikes, it is sometimes easier to call long distance than locally. Have family members call the liaison for information if they can't reach you.
  • Be sure you're up to date on all the insurance coverage that you need in your part of the country. You want to be covered for wind, water, and fire damage — not just storm damage and homeowner's insurance.
  • If a hurricane is coming and you live in a mobile home (or another insubstantial structure) you should seek sturdier emergency shelter, whether or not you're instructed to evacuate. Better to be safe than sorry!

When the storm gets close

  • Set your freezer to its coldest temperature in case the power fails. Super-cold food will have a better chance of staying unspoiled until the power is restored.
  • Bring outdoor furniture and equipment inside. Tie down objects too large to move.
  • Fill the bathtub with water in case the water supply is affected; you may need extra water for cleaning or for flushing toilets.
  • If there's a chance you'll need to make a fast getaway, fill your car's tank with gas; gas pumps won't work during a power failure.
  • If you won't be using your car, put it in the garage.
  • Moor your boat and leave it.
  • Evacuate if you're told to, or stay indoors and away from windows.

Emergency kit

  • When a natural disaster strikes, whether in the form of a fierce storm, flood or earthquake, or when the power simply goes out, it's almost always too late to try to start throwing together the survival items you'll need. That's why you should assemble your emergency kit in advance and have it at the ready.
  • Include the following items, plus anything else your family might need to survive:
  • Flashlight with extra batteries or a crank-up model
  • Portable radio with extra batteries or a crank-up model
  • First-aid kit
  • Prescription drugs and other necessary medical supplies
  • At least four litres (one gallon) of drinking water per person per day for at least three days; replace the supply every six months
  • Small supply (ideally a three-day supply) of ready-to-eat food (energy bars and the like are a good place to start)
  • Manual can opener
  • A waterproof, fireproof container with valuable papers, including passports and insurance policies — or copies of these important papers if you keep the originals in a safe-deposit box.
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