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Active Hurricane Season: Evacuation Plans

TALLAHASSEE, FL, October 10, 2013— Hurricane season ends in just a few weeks, but as we saw with Tropical Storm Karen, systems can rapidly develop. These short windows of development leave emergency officials with little time to issue evacuation orders. The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) wants to remind homeowners, renters, and businesses to have an evacuation plan in place.

“It’s important to review and update your evacuation checklist to make sure you have everything you need. This will make the evacuation process much easier on you, your family, and your business” said Donovan Brown, PCI’s state government relations counsel. “Even though Karen didn’t make landfall as a named storm, it was definitely a teachable moment for those living along the Gulf Coast. If they weren’t prepared to evacuate before Karen, hopefully they will be prepared to evacuate if a storm should head their way.”

It’s important to monitor local television forecasts and have access to a weather radio so you can have the latest information regarding evacuation procedures and weather updates. As we saw last week with Karen, those updates can change very quickly.

Always make sure the gas tank is full. If there’s an evacuation, you could be stuck in traffic for hours and finding a gas station might be difficult.

FEMA Evacuation Tips:

  • Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood. Use the Family Emergency Plan to decide these locations before a disaster.
  • If you have a car, keep the gas tank full if an evacuation seems likely. Keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case of an unexpected need to evacuate. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages. Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.
  • Become familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency.
  • Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.
  • Be alert for road hazards such as washed-out roads or bridges and downed power lines. Do not drive into flooded areas.
  • If you do not have a car, plan how you will evacuate. You may need to make arrangements with family, friends or your local government.
  • Take your emergency supply kit unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated.
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
  • Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency.

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