Steps to Prepare for an Emergency Evacuation of Your Home
Numerous reasons exist for families to evacuate their homes. Evacuation advisories can be sudden, or officials may give advanced warning to members of the community to leave their homes.
Evacuation may be spurred by natural disasters, such as an earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, volcano, tornado or landslide. Other natural catastrophes that may require an order of evacuation include wildfires, winter storms and tsunamis. Human error may also lead to a recommendation of evacuation, such as chemical emergencies and nuclear explosions.
In some instances, the community may receive ample warning, at least one or two days’ notice to evacuate. Other scenarios may require urgency, regardless of circumstances. In either case, homeowners are advised to plan ahead, long before an evacuation order is communicated by officials.
Community members should be aware of the types of disasters that can strike their area. Homes situated along high-risk flood plains should be prepared to evacuate in the event of a flood. Similarly, residences located where wildfires are likely to burn should also be ready to abandon their homes at a moment’s notice.
Plan the Evacuation Route
In the event local officials advise an evacuation, heed the warning and follow a predetermined evacuation route. Plan far ahead the save havens to which the family will travel in the case of an evacuation advisory. A friend’s home out of town or a motel away from the disaster area are viable options. Be sure to prepare several destinations so options are available in the unforeseen event the first choice is not possible.
Once shelters are identified, plan the route to get there. Become familiar with several routes to reach the destination, as roadblocks, downed bridges and power lines, closed roads or flooded highways may obstruct any given route. Be prepared to travel on foot, depending on the type of disaster.
Develop a Family Communication Plan
It is crucial that family members stay in contact during the evacuation and especially if they are separated. A reunification plan will help. Have an out of state contact be the coordinator for the evacuation. All family members should report to the contact to let them know where they are. Designate one area out of harm’s way where all family members can reunite.
Plan Transportation Methods
If an evacuation is imminent, fill up your vehicle’s gas tank as far in advance as possible. Avoid the rush to get gas, as others will also be scrambling to fill up on gas, leaving gas stations empty. Gas stations may also be closed during emergencies. Always keep at least a half tank of gas in the car in the event of unexpected emergencies. Those without cars should arrange for transport with family, friends or the local government.
Keep a portable emergency kit in the vehicle. An emergency supply kit for the car includes items, such as flares, jumper cables, car cell phone charger, ice scraper and sand or cat litter to enable tire traction.
Prepare the Home for Evacuation
When an evacuation is expected, prevent extensive damage to the home. Any items in the yard that are not tied down should be brought inside. Patio furniture, garbage bins, birdhouses and garden equipment can serve as dangerous projectiles during a storm’s high winds and crash into the home’s windows and exterior.
Install storm proof shutters on windows and doors to prevent glass from shattering. Plywood is also a workable solution if storm shutters are not readily available.
Valuable indoor furniture, paintings and antiques can be protected from water damage and the elements by wrapping them in plastic drop cloths or blankets.
Thieves and looters take advantage of evacuation situations and look for unlocked doors. Lock the doors and windows upon evacuation. Don’t leave spare house keys on the property, especially in obvious locations, like under a potted plant.
All electrical devices should be unplugged, such as radios, appliances and televisions. Unless the risk of flooding is a reality, keep the refrigerator and freezer plugged in.
Shut off the gas, water and electricity prior to evacuating the home.
Upon returning to the home after the calamity has passed, do not light matches or ignite any type of flame until a gas company technician has inspected the property for natural gas leaks.
Stay Up-to-date with Safety Alerts
Local officials communicate the status of emergencies through the news, social media and alerts to smartphones. Cell phones are capable of receiving automatic Wireless Emergency Alerts if the wireless carrier joins the program.
During the emergency, listen to and follow officials’ evacuation instructions. A battery powered radio will serve as a one-way communications device to receive updates during the storm.
Be sure to leave promptly once an evacuation has been recommended. Severe weather can leave families trapped if they prolong the evacuation. In some states, those who choose to defend their home rather than follow mandatory evacuation orders are subject to major fines and even jail time.
Upon returning from an emergency evacuation, families may find their property in shambles. ServiceMaster by Disaster Recon is a storm damage restoration company with the equipment, skill and experience to return any damaged property to its original condition. Whether damage is due to wind, rain, flooding or snow, the ServiceMaster specialists are equipped to handle the full reconstruction of the property.
The ServiceMaster by Disaster Recon team has witnessed homes’ roofs, gutters and siding torn off and windows badly damaged by fierce windstorms. The experts at the storm damage restoration company also have repaired roofs, gutters, siding and windows, including any other part of a home’s structure that have been destroyed by merciless storms.
ServiceMaster by Disaster Recon is available to stabilize the property with tarp, remove natural debris like broken tree branches from the property, and clean up the mess of shattered glass and building materials.
The professionals at ServiceMaster by Disaster Recon reliably serve the Cleveland, OH community of residences and businesses. The dedicated specialists quickly respond to emergency storm damage restoration calls and are available 24 hours a day.