Planning Ahead Is Essential For Flood Evacuations

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Release date: 
March 28, 2009
Release Number: 

Bismarck, N.D. -- The State of North Dakota and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advise residents that if evacuation is necessary in your area for the major flooding, it is critical that you and your family respond quickly and responsibly.

Having your own evacuation plan can 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:

  1. Where would you go? To get out of harm's way, you may need to have more than one escape route. Your primary destination could be with family or friends and should be 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.
  2. 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. If you end up in a shelter, very basic needs only will be provided, and they could be in short supply - but being safe is your first concern.
  3. What would you take with you? Food, water, clothing, cash and documents are important considerations. It is recommended that you plan to be self-sustaining for at least three days.

Develop a Detailed Plan That Includes the Following:

  1. Plan an Evacuation Route
    • Learn about evacuation plans from your local emergency management office.
    • Review proposed evacuation routes and the locations of potential public shelters.
  2. Develop a Family Communications Plan
    • Scale the plan: Will the evacuation encompass your neighborhood, your community or the region?
    • Share the plan with family members. Discuss what to do if kids are in school or day care, 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.
  3. Have your transportation arranged
    • Keep your car fueled if evacuation seems likely. Gas stations may be closed during an emergency; they may be out of fuel or be unable to pump gas during power outages. Check your car’s 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 a 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.
    • If you don't have reliable transportation of your own, you need to consider what options are available from your neighbors or local government. Your county emergency manager's office is the source for this information.
  4. Assemble a Disaster Supply Kit To Include
    • Food and water for at least 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).
    • Identification and important papers.
    • Checkbook, credit card and cash.
    • Flashlights with extra batteries, phone chargers and extra phone batteries.
    • Baby and pet supplies including special food, sanitary items and play items.
  5. Prepare to shut down your home or apartment
    • Know how to safely shut off electricity, gas and water supplies at main switches and valves.
    • Secure all loose yard items like lawn furniture, BBQ grills, bird baths, trash cans, planters, awnings, etc.
    • Move valuable items to inner rooms or upper floors.
    • Your home could be without power for an extended period.
      1. Remove perishable items from refrigerator and freezer
      2. Unplug major appliances to avoid damage from power surges.

What to do if Asked/Told to Evacuate

  • Gather all persons in the household together.
  • Household members outside the area may be advised not to return during an evacuation.  They may be directed to a reception center or mass care shelter where you can join them. They should call you, or you call them, to be sure of everyone's status.
  • Close and lock windows and doors. Close curtains and shades.
  • Check with neighbors to see if they need assistance. Offer to share transportation.
  • Notify others when you are leaving and where you plan to go.
  • Do not call local fire or police departments for information. Emergency workers need their lines for emergency use. If you need special help, call your local emergency management office.

For more information on how you can prepare for all hazards, please visit and

FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.

Last Updated: 
April 22, 2013 - 10:26
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