If a hurricane or tropical storm heads your way, you may be required to leave your home. Depending on the type of water damage, you may be leaving your home for a long time.

Do you know where you would go? Do you know what you would take? How would you get where you are going?

By planning for an evacuation now, you won’t have to worry about these details in the middle of a disaster. These five steps will help you get to safety with peace of mind.

Make a Plan Now

It is important that you do not wait for an emergency to create an evacuation plan. The sooner you know what to do, the easier evacuating will be. Here is what you need to know.

  • Where to go. Get a list of local shelters. Make sure the shelter you choose has what you need based on your family’s unique circumstances – a place for pets, kid-friendly, medical staff, etc. Write down the location and phone number. Keep this information handy.
  • Have a second location chosen. You should always have at least two options in case one of them is in the path of the storm or already filled to capacity.
  • Know how to get to these locations. Use a map or app to create a primary and secondary route to your evacuation locations. Remember, during a storm, some roads may become impassible. Keep a paper map handy in case the satellite GPS system goes down due to the storm.
  • Arrange a meeting place. If your family is separated during the evacuation, know where you will meet. Make sure the location is specified. For instance, ‘in front of the Dick’s Sporting Goods entrance of the mall’ rather than ‘the mall parking lot.’
  • Designate someone out of town to be the contact person for your family. Provide each member of the family with this person’s phone number.
  • Write the evacuation plan on paper and give everyone in your household a copy. Consider laminating the plan or placing it in a baggie to prevent the ink from running

When a storm is on the way, continuously listen to the NOAA Weather Radio or local stations to determine if you need to evacuate. If so, follow through with your plan immediately.

Know What to Take

It’s a good idea to pack a bag or backpack with items you’d need in case of an evacuation. Some people call this a “go bag.” Others call it a 72-hour kit. Whatever you call it, here are some items to include:

  • Medications
  • First aid kit
  • Three-day supply of water
  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Radio with batteries
  • Clothing
  • Bedding – sleeping bag, pillows
  • Computer hard drive and/or laptop
  • Irreplaceable items such as photographs
  • Toys and games for children
  • Specialty items for members of the family: infants, elderly, disabled
  • Pet items: food, water, leashes, litter boxes, etc.

Know What You Have

Create a home inventory of all of your personal belongings. Keep this with you during an evacuation. Having one will help with:

  • Applying for disaster aid
  • Creating an insurance claim
  • Proving losses for tax purposes

Create an Important Document Folio

Important documents should be in a safe place and easily accessible so you can grab them on your way out the door. You should also store digital copies of these documents in a safe place.

Here are the documents to take with you during an evacuation (in alphabetical order):

  • Birth certificates
  • Deeds
  • Employment info
  • Financial account information
  • ID – Driver’s license, military ID, passports, social security cards
  • Insurance policies
  • Marriage certificates
  • Most recent tax returns
  • Personal property inventory
  • Prescriptions
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Wills

Try It Out

Can you and your family be ready to leave in ten minutes? Test yourself and see.

  • Set a timer for ten minutes
  • Gather  together the items you need to take with you
  • Get everyone and their belongings into the car
  • Get on the road before the timer buzzes

If you did it, good for you! If not, keep on practicing until you can gather everyone in 10 minutes. This will keep the stress levels down if an evacuation order arrives.

At Aftermath Adjusters & Consulting, we want to be sure that your family is fully prepared for hurricane season. We also want you to know that if you have to file a hurricane claim, we will be here to help. Just give us a call.