Hurricanes: What to know about planning to evacuate

Plan to evacuate if you:

Live in a mobile home. Do not stay in a mobile home under any circumstances. Live on the coastline or on an offshore island, or live near a river or in a flood plain. Live in a high-rise building. Hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.

If you are evacuating:

Stay with friends or relatives or at a low-rise inland hotel/motel outside of flood zones. Leave early to avoid heavy traffic, roads blocked by early flood waters and bridges impassable due to high winds. Make sure your pet wears a collar and ID tag with up-to-date information and take your pet when you evacuate. Identify animal shelters, local boarding facilities, veterinarians, motels and friends or relatives that may temporarily house your pet during a disaster. Every animal in your house should have a molded plastic carrying case for transport. Hurricane shelters will be available for people who have no other place to go. Shelters may be crowded and uncomfortable, with no privacy and no electricity. Do not leave your home for a shelter until government officials announce on radio and/or TV that a particular shelter is open. Disconnect all utilities and appliances that use them.

What to bring to a shelter: First-aid kit, medicines, baby food and diapers, cards, games, books, toiletries, battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, blankets or sleeping bags, identification, valuable papers (insurance), and cash. If you are staying at home: (Only stay in a home if you have not been ordered to leave. If you are told to leave, do so immediately. Store water. Fill sterilized jugs and bottles with two weeks supply of drinking water. Fill bathtub and large containers with water for sanitary purposes. Turn refrigerator to maximum cold and open only when necessary. Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities. Turn off propane tanks. Unplug small appliances. Stay inside your home at all times. If winds become strong: Stay away from windows and doors even if they are covered. Take refuge in a small ground floor, interior room, closet, or hallway. Take a battery-powered radio and a flashlight with you. Close all interior doors. Secure and brace external doors, particularly double inward opening doors and garage doors. If you are in a multiple-story building and away from the water, go to the first or second floors and take refuge in the halls or other interior rooms away from windows. Interior stairwells and the areas around elevator shafts are generally the strongest part of a building. Be alert for tornadoes which often are spawned by hurricanes. Also, if the “eye” of the hurricane should pass over your area, be aware that the improved weather conditions are only temporary and that the storm conditions will return with winds coming from the opposite direction sometimes in a period of just a few minutes.