Evacuating Is The Smartest Move

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Release date: 
May 26, 2009
Release Number: 

TEXAS CITY, Texas -- When a hurricane threatens and you are living in an evacuation zone, the smartest thing to do is leave when local officials tell you to do so, according to Governor's Division of Emergency Management (GDEM) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials. Review this checklist and read it again before you leave. Monitor broadcasts for instructions.

"Officials always plan for storms that are one category worse than predicted," said GDEM's State Coordinating Officer for Hurricane Ike Recovery Joan Haun. "So should you."

Before The Hurricane Or Tropical Storm

  • Check with local officials to find out if you live in an evacuation zone - an area that can be flooded by hurricane storm surge - and if so, make plans to leave when local officials call for a mandatory evacuation.
  • Learn your evacuation routes.
  • Prepare an evacuation plan.
  • Prepare an emergency supply kit.
  • Review your insurance policy for protection against wind and flood damage, and prepare an inventory of personal property needed for insurance settlements.
  • Obtain waterproof containers for carrying important papers such as proof of insurance and medical prescriptions.
  • Obtain items needed to board up windows and protect your home.
  • Make plans for family members with special needs and for your pets.

Re-Check Your Plans When A Storm Is In The Gulf

  • Make sure your gas tank is full and your vehicle is ready for the road.
  • Review your emergency plan, including the place you and your family can meet if separated, and plans for family members with special health care needs.
  • Check your emergency supply kit and map of evacuation routes.
  • Notify relatives and friends about evacuation plans and confirm reservations if planning to stay at a motel.
  • Double check places you can stay between your home and destination should roads become clogged.
  • Double check your emergency supplies for family and pets.
  • Monitor TV and radio broadcasts.

Prepare Your Home

  • To protect your home, put up shutters or plywood on all windows and openings.
  • Move patio furniture, hanging plants and gas grills inside.
  • If your home is vulnerable to rising water, move valuables and furniture to a higher level.
  • Turn off lights, household appliances, heating systems, or cooling and ventilation systems.
  • Turn off electricity at the main circuit breaker or fuse box to protect appliances from power surges and reduce the risk of live dangling wires after the storm.
  • If the house is supplied with natural or propane gas, check well in advance with your gas company on what to do.
  • Fill boats with water to weigh them down and check mooring lines.
  • Leave BEFORE a mandatory evacuation if you are towing a trailer or boat.
  • Make a final walk-through inspection of the home before closing the door.

On The Road

  • Leave with a full tank of gas.
  • Leave early, remain calm and travel only as far as necessary to reach a safe area.
  • Watch for instructions on Texas Department of Transportation road signs.
  • Continue monitoring radio broadcasts in your vehicle.
  • Be patient with road congestion because heavy traffic in an evacuation is unavoidable.
  • Do not drive into water across a roadway: Turn Around, Don't Drown.
  • Do not try to ride out a hurricane in your vehicle. 

For more information on Hurricane Preparedness Week, see:

www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/intro.shtml or

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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