What to Do If You Have to Evacuate Your Home
Taking the following steps can help you protect your family and home if you have to
leave because of a natural or manmade disaster, according to the U.S. Department of
Consider in advance what kinds of disasters might strike your area. Do you live in
an earthquake zone? Is flooding a possibility? Then think about what you’ll do in
an emergency. Think about the places your family spends time like school and work.
Learn what sort of emergency plans are in place for your workplace and, if you have
children, how school officials will communicate with you during an emergency. Write
down your plan. Be sure to keep the plan in a safe place that all family members can
get to easily.
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes. Plan how you’ll contact one
another and review what you’ll do in different situations.
In addition to having a local plan in case of separation, having an out-of-town contact
may also make sense. For example, if an entire area needs to be evacuated because
of a flood or other disaster, someone who is out of town may be in a better place
to communicate among separated family members. Once you decide on an out-of-town contact,
be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone or
a prepaid phone card to call that person.
Choose a destination
Whether you decide to leave on your own or you’re ordered to leave, plan how you’ll
gather your family and plan ahead where you’ll go. Choose several destinations in
different directions so you have choices in an emergency.
Ahead of time:
Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside your immediate neighborhood.
Become familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your
When it’s time to go:
Take an emergency supply kit that contains water, food, and medical and safety supplies,
like matches, candles, flashlights, clothing, and bedding.
Take your pets and pet food, but understand that only service animals may be permitted
in public shelters.
Call or email your out-of-town contact and tell the person where you’re going.
Shut off water, gas, and electricity. If you turn off the gas, a professional must
turn it back on. Don’t do this yourself.
Leave a note telling where you’re going and how you can be contacted.
Check with neighbors who may need help or a ride.
Lock your house.