NC State Extension Publications

Before the Evacuation Has Been Announced

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Keep your radio on and listen to it.

Figure out where you will go before you leave. Local officials will probably establish shelters in public buildings. If you don’t know the location of public shelters, listen to your radio for evacuation instructions. If an evacuation route is suggested, plan to use it.

Gather supplies. You need to take the following:

  • Protective clothing, especially water repellent outer garments and footwear
  • Several blankets
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Infant supplies
  • Important documents and papers
  • Drinking water in plastic bottles; other liquids
  • Emergency supplies of ready-to-eat foods
  • Necessary prescription drugs or medicines, such as heart medication or insulin

When an Evacuation Is Announced

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If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Don’t wait until the last minute to leave, making last-minute preparations in hopes of saving your possessions. Save your life.

Move quickly and calmly. Don’t take chances. Getting safely away from the storm area should be your first consideration.

If you have limited time for evacuation preparations, take only family medicines, blankets, and a battery-powered radio with you. Otherwise, take the supplies you have already collected.

If you are certain you have time before you leave your house:

  • Turn off utilities
  • If flood waters threaten, open basement windows to let water in and equalize pressure

Lock your home when you leave it.

Use the official evacuation route. Shortcuts could have downed power lines or the roads or bridges may be blocked or washed away.

As you travel listen to the radio. Watch out for these hazards:

  • Washed-out bridges or roads
  • Undermined roadways
  • Landslides
  • Fallen rocks
  • Downed power lines
  • Floating hazards

Don’t drive over flooded roads, especially where they cross overflowing streams and rivers. Flood currents are strong and cars and people are easily washed away in them. Remember, just two feet of water can float a car.

For More Information

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For more information on disaster preparedness and recovery visit the NC Disaster Information Center.

Adapted by Dr. Wilma S. Hammett, Extension Home Environment Specialist, from Evacuation & Safety Rules, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, 1997.

Find more information at the following NC State Extension websites:

Publication date: June 3, 2014
Revised: March 27, 2024

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