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If an evacuation is necessary, public safety officials will tell you what to do through the Emergency Alert System. DO NOT evacuate unless public safety officials direct you to do so - you may be safer staying where you are. When told to evacuate you should do the following:

What To Do as You Leave

  • Gather all persons in the house together.
  • Turn off lights and unnecessary appliances.
  • Close and lock windows and doors.
  • Check with neighbors to see if they need assistance and offer to share transportation, if you can.
  • If you have livestock, shelter them. Leave them a three-day supply of stored feed and water that has been protected from possible contamination.
  • Do not call your local fire or police departments for information. Emergency workers will need their telephone lines for emergency use.
  • If you need a ride, try to get one with neighbors.
  • If you cannot get a ride and have not registered with your local Emergency Management office for transportation assistance in an emergency, call the office in your community at the number listed. Emergency workers will arrange transportation for you.
  • If there has been a radiological release, close all windows and vents and turn off heaters or air conditioners while traveling.
  • Do not pick up children at their schools. Schools will take them to a designated host facility outside the area where you may pick them up.
  • Keep the car radio tuned to an Emergency Alert System Radio Station.

What To Take With You

Just take essential items you would need. You could be away from home for a few hours to a few days. These are suggestions that apply to any type of emergency evacuation.

  • Your address book.
  • Clothing and toilet articles (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.) for several days.
  • Prescription medicines, eye glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids with batteries, medical records, etc..
  • Special dietary foods.
  • Baby supplies.
  • Blankets, pillows, and towels (if you stay at a public mass care shelter).
  • Identification (drivers license or passport), important papers, checkbook, credit card(s), keys to your home, vehicle(s), safety deposit box, etc..
  • Other easily carried and secured items crucial to your living away from your home and workplace for a number of days.

Where To Go

  • If your children were in school, go to the host facility to pick them up.
  • The best place to go is to stay with a friend or family member who is far enough to be out of the emergency area but close enough that you can return easily.
  • Household members outside the area may be advised not to return during an evacuation - if you do not have a place to meet up, they will be directed to a Red Cross shelter.
  • If there is a general evacuation, the American Red Cross will open congregate care shelters outside of the affected area. Radio broadcasts and other public messages will give directions to the shelters.

Follow directions of police and other traffic officers. Stay tuned to your local Emergency Alert System radio station for special instructions for your area. Take your time; instructions will be given in plenty of time to allow you to evacuate safely. If you require emergency police, fire or ambulance assistance call 9-1-1. Use this number for emergencies only.

What about your pets?

Do not leave your pets behind. Arrange for their evacuation in advance.

  • Bring emergency kit for your pets with copies of your pet's vaccination and medical records, a current photograph, collars and leashes, 3-day supply of water and food in moisture-proof containers, bowls, litter and litter box, first aid kit, and a week's supply of any medication your pet may be taking.
  • Ensure your pet wears a collar with a current license tag, rabies tag and identification tag with your name, addresses and phone number of a relative who lives outside the area who can be contacted if you cannot be reached.
  • Get a sturdy pet carrier for each of your pets. Favorite toys or blankets will provide comfort to your pet should you be temporarily separated.

For more information on disaster preparedness for pets, visit The Humane Society of the United States Website.