AUSTIN, Texas -- The state of Texas and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advise residents that if evacuation is necessary in your area for the approaching hurricane, it is critical that you and your family respond quickly and responsibly.
Having your own evacuation plan can be a big relief and could help you avoid paying a premium for food, fuel and accommodations and taking a chance on where your family sleeps at night.
Basic Evacuation Planning Steps
Here are three questions you should answer to get started:
Where would you go? To get out of harm's way, you may need to go north, south, east or west. Pick a destination in each direction. Your primary destination could be with family or friends within the range of one tank full of gas. Stop-and-go driving could drastically reduce how far you can get on a tank of gas, so take that into consideration.
Where would you stay? If you are with family or friends, certain comforts could be expected. Be sure to discuss this with your hosts ahead of time. Four families in a two bedroom house could be very uncomfortable. If you end up in a shelter, only very basic needs will be provided, and could be in short supply - but being safe is your first concern.
- What would you take with you? More on this later, but food and water, clothes and comfort and cash and documents are three prime categories. It is recommended that you plan to be self-sustaining for at least three days.
If you don't have reliable transportation of your own, you need to know more in advance about what options are available from your neighbors or local government. Your county emergency manager's office is the source for this information. What you can take with you are the same as above, but you are limited by how much you can carry.
Develop a Detailed Plan
Here is information you will need to know:
- Find out from your local Emergency Management Office about evacuation plans.
- Learn proposed evacuation routes and the locations of potential public shelters.
- If you do not have personal transportation, make arrangements with friends or find out what resources can be provided through your local government.
- Develop a Family Communications Plan
- Scale the plan: Do you need to evacuate your neighborhood, your community or the region.
- Share the plan with family members. Discuss what to do if kids are in school, if a parent is far from home, etc.
- Be sure you have all phone numbers: Work, school, cell phones and land lines, host family, friends, your local emergency management office and/or community evacuation resources.
- Have your transportation arranged
- Keep your car fueled if evacuation seems likely. Gas stations may be closed during an emergency, out of fuel or unable to pump gas during power outages. Check your oil and other fluids, tire pressure, spare tire, jack and other tools.
- Have a good road map. Evacuation routes may take you on unfamiliar roads.
- If driving with someone else, set meeting place, stay in touch to coordinate pick-up times.
- If using community transportation, find out where and when you need to arrive for pick-up.
- Assemble a Disaster Supply Kit
- Food and water for three days and/or special dietary foods.
- Toilet articles (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.)
- Prescription medicines, medical equipment and important medical records.
- Clothing for several days.
- Blankets, pillows, and towels (particularly if you may stay at a public mass care shelter).