Why Talk About Evacuation
At any time of the year, at any time of the day or night, a disaster or threat of a disaster could force people to leave their homes.  People evacuate a dangerous place to go to a safer place, and they usually need to act in a hurry.  Preparing before an emergency by learning about the community‚Äôs warning systems and evacuation routes and by making evacuation plans and discussing them with household members is the best way to be ready in case an evacuation is necessary.  Making plans at the last minute can be upsetting, create confusion and cost precious time.

Why Talk About Sheltering
Sometimes, a disaster or threat of a disaster mandates that people find shelter in their home or in a designated safe place.  Safe shelter requires having a safe place to go and having the time to get there.  It is important to know which room to shelter in and what to do to stay safe while there.  At other times, people are forced to evacuate the immediate area, or even the entire region and to shelter at a public facility.  Knowing in advance what to expect and preparing for all sheltering scenarios will make sheltering experiences safer and more comfortable.

Pet Evacuation
Because evacuation shelters generally do not accept pets, except for service animals, you must plan ahead to ensure that your family and pets will have a safe place to stay.  Do your research early.  Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets.  Ask if policies would be waived in an emergency.  Make a list of pet friendly places and friends / relatives who would be available to take in your family and your pets.  Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in emergencies.

If you cannot get out of our mountainous area, but need to evacuate from your home, you may need to provide camping facilities for yourself and your pets.  Be prepared with the right equipment.  See
Pet Care.

Evacuation Checklists

  • If you are in an area that is being evacuated:  Evacuate immediately if told to do so by authorities.
  • Listen to a local radio or television station and follow the instructions of local emergency officials.
  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes.
  • Lock your home.
  • Take your pets with you when leave, provided you can do so without endangering yourself.  See Pet Care and Large Animal
  • Use evacuation routes as specified by neighborhood communications and/or first responders.
  • Once out of the neighborhood, use travel routes specified by local authorities.  Avoid shortcuts and do not drive through moving water. Follow posted detour signs.
  • Take your Disaster Supplies Kit

Prepare your home before evacuating if time permits

  • Turn off electricity at the main fuse or breaker.
  • Turn off propane gas service valves; leave natural gas on unless otherwise advised.
  •  If flooding is expected, consider using sand bags to keep water away from your house.