Get Out! Free Advice: Taking Care if you Have to Evacuate

Evacuation seems like something you’ll never have to deal with, right?  Probably, but while it might seem like a remote possibility, you won’t lose anything by taking a few minutes to consider. When and if you ever did have to get out of danger, you might not have the luxury of time to research and gather resources.  We’ve put together a few notes and resources for you here.  Take a few minutes and read through, make some notes and get yourself ready.  Yes, it is unlikely, but if it ever does happen at least you’ll be armed with some useful knowledge.

 

Outside Your Home

Regular maintenance to the exterior of your home is not just beneficial for day to day, it can make a difference in an emergency.  Your landscape should always facilitate water running away from your home. And this will be beneficial if the emergency is water-related.  If the forecast is some extreme rain, you’ll be happy you have kept your gutters and downspouts clean and functioning. They will help with drainage and could help you avoid water damage.  If you do have time before you must evacuate, gather any loose items that you store outside and move them into the garage or basement.  Severe weather, flood or fire will damage these items and can be dangerous if left outside in high winds. 

Speaking of the garage, make sure you can operate the garage door if you return home and there isn’t power.  There is a release on your garage door that will make it functional in the event of power failure. 

 

Inside Your Home

If you must leave your home in an emergency, it’s always a good idea to unplug as much as you can. This can save you some damage if there is a power surge.  Also, it might not be a bad idea to turn off your heating and cooling systems.  You won’t need when you’re not at home anyway.  Turn off the pilot light on appliances, furnace and water heaters also.  Specific measures that you should take could depend on the reason for evacuation; boarding windows for hurricane, moving items to a high floor in the event of flood, etc.  As this article recommends, take a few minutes and learn what event in your area is most likely to force you out and get your home prepared.

If you do have time before you evacuate, take photos of each room of your home.  Should you have any damage, you will likely need these for any damage claims. 

 

Your Family and Pets

Talk with your family and make sure you have a plan in place – where will you go? Where can you all meet if you’re not all at home at the time of evacuation?  If you can, assemble a “go-bag” now with supplies and non-perishable items and keep it in your car.  And don’t forget your pets. Have a supply of pets’ needs and make sure they have their own go-bag. Don’t forget a leash or crate, water bowls and a toy or two. Finally, locate and gather up all important documents (IDs, passports, pet’s vaccination records) in keep them in an easily accessible place so you can pick them up on your way out.

What is a “Go bag?”

It may sound like a crazy idea, but it could come in handy.  A “go-bag” is a stock of emergency items – all in one place – that you can grab when you have to GO.  Read more about it here. Don’t forget to include specific things that you and your family might need: medication, special diet items and provisions for pets.

 

We get it, its not fun to think about emergency preparation, but the time you take now could make it easier for you and your family when and if there is a real emergency.  We will continue to offer free advice to keep you, your home and your family safe.

 Check out these additional resources:

https://www.houselogic.com/finances-taxes/home-insurance/home-evacuation-checklist/

https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit

https://www.ready.gov/evacuating-yourself-and-your-family

http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Pre-Evacuation-Preparation/

https://www.consumerreports.org/emergency-preparedness/what-to-do-to-your-home-before-evacuating/