In the event of a disaster, do you know what you need to do to get your family out safely? With only a few minutes to gather your family and most important papers, are you prepared?  Do you know where to go?  Taking the time to prepare an evacuation plan to ensure you and your family are safe by using the following tips.

1. Develop Your Evacuation Plan

  • Identify where you can go if you have to evacuate such as a family members home, hotel or shelter.  Keep addresses and phone numbers of the locations you have in mind.
  • Designate a route you would take in case of an evacuation along with another route option is case the first is blocked.
  • Choose a specific place to meet up with your family in case you are separated during an evacuation.
  • Always listen for any weather advisories from local radio or television stations giving instructions to evacuate.

2. Create an Inventory of Your Home 

Creating a list of your personal belongings will ensure you have purchased enough insurance that will replace them.  In the event a claim, having this information accessible for an adjuster will fast track the process.  A list readily available is also helpful if there is a need for you to apply for disaster aid.

3. Make a List of What You Are Taking 

Maintain a ready bag with essentials such as bottled water, first aid kit, flashlight, battery-operated radio and extra batteries.  Additional items to add are:

  • Clothing and sleeping bags
  • Non-perishable foods and bottled water
  • Prescriptions
  • Any items needed for infants, elderly or disabled family members
  • Pet food and other items for pets
  • First-aid kit along with batteries and flashlights

4. Gather Important Documents 

Keep important documents easily accessible and in a safe place where .  If you have to evacuate the following documents should go with you:

  • Insurance policies
  • Prescriptions
  • Birth and Marriage certificates
  • Passports
  • Personal identification such as Driver’s License and Social Security card
  • Employer information
  • Home inventory
  • Financial records such as bank accounts, wills, deed, and recent tax returns

5. Practice with a Ten-Minute Challenge 

Now that your evacuation plan is complete try it out with your family.  Time yourself to get your family and belongings in the car and on the road safely within 10 minutes.  Planning ahead will help you gather your family in the allowed time with a minimum of stress and confusion.

If you get caught in the storm do not ignore barricades as they have been placed there to keep you, your family and your vehicle safe.  While evacuating and run into standing water do not drive through it instead search for an alternative route.  Finding another route can save the life of your family and prevent damage to your vehicle.  Be smart when your are driving if you are forced to drive through water.  Make sure to drive slowly and steadily, staying alert for any items that can be flowing downstream.  If you become trapped in water exit your vehicle immediately and search for higher ground.

Please contact 911 in case of an emergency.