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Prepare for Emergencies with a Hurricane Evacuation Checklist

by 4. September 2018 07:29

Entering the most active period of hurricane season, it’s important to be prepared for an evacuation. Your hurricane evacuation checklist should include both a list of tasks to complete before leaving and a list of what to bring with you when evacuating.

Preparing to Evacuate Your Home

Before leaving, make sure your home is ready to weather the coming storm. Clear your yard of any debris that may be lifted by wind or floodwaters. Protect your windows with stormproof shutters or plywood. Move valuables to a second level if possible, where they’re less likely to be affected by flooding. Just before evacuating your home, unplug appliances and electronics, turn off the water, electricity and gas, and lock each of your home’s windows and doors.

What to Pack in an Evacuation Bag

Your emergency evacuation checklist should include both physical and digital copies of important documents stored in a waterproof case. Driver’s license, social security card, birth certificate, passport, home or renters insurance, and information for your bank and credit card accounts should be included. Include medical insurance details, medical records and doctors’ contact information so any necessary medical treatment can be completed as quickly as possible. Each member of your family should also have contact information for each other, family or friends out of the disaster zone and the Red Cross or another relief agency.

Include an extra set of house and car keys in your waterproof container.

Food and water are among the most important items on your hurricane evacuation checklist. Pack fresh water and nonperishable food for at least three days. Bring a can opener, utensils, cups, paper towels and any other items your family may need to eat and drink during an evacuation.

First aid supplies are essential during an evacuation. Pack a simple first aid kit that includes over the counter medications, sunscreen and insect repellant. Any necessary prescription medications should also be packed; include enough for seven days.

Personal hygiene is important in large shelters. Pack moist towelettes, toilet paper, toothbrushes, towels and soaps.

The next items in your evacuation bag should be those that help you address unusual or emergency situations. A flashlight and radio with extra batteries, maps, a compass and a whistle for each person will help you stay connected, even without power. Pack your cell phone and a charger to use in areas with service and electricity. Bring matches and a multitool (or a pocket knife and screwdriver) when evacuating your home. Cash, rather than credit or debit cards, can be accepted in stores without power or operating at a limited capacity.

Prepare for a few days in a shelter, hotel or family member’s home with a complete change of clothes. Rain gear, sturdy shoes and protective clothing are helpful, not only when evacuating, but when returning to affected communities. An emergency blanket, lightweight blanket, sleeping bag and travel pillow can keep you and your family more comfortable.

Evacuating requires a lot of waiting. Keep busy with toys and games that don’t require electricity. Pack a few books for each family member as well.

For families with pets, emergency evacuation is slightly more complex. Know where to seek pet-friendly shelter or have a boarding facility in mind, as many emergency shelters don’t allow animals. Pack food, water and medications for your pet, as well as a collar with contact information and proof of vaccination. You may want to consider a second collar for hurricane evacuation with the phone number of a family member or friend who lives outside the affected region. They’ll be more likely to answer the phone and have the means to pick up your pet if necessary.


Natural Disasters

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