|Plan for an evacuation
Develop a family hurricane preparedness plan before an actual storm threatens your area. If your family hurricane preparedness plan includes evacuation to a safer location for any of the reasons specified with in this web site, then it is important to consider the following points:
If ordered to evacuate, do not wait or delay your departure.
If possible, leave before local officials issue an evacuation order for your area. Even a slight delay in starting your evacuation will result in significantly longer travel times as traffic congestion worsens.
Select an evacuation destination that is nearest to your home, preferably in the same county, or at least minimize the distance over which you must travel in order to reach your intended shelter location.
In choosing your destination, keep in mind that the hotels and other sheltering options in most inland metropolitan areas are likely to be filled very quickly in a large, multi-county hurricane evacuation event.
If you decide to evacuate to another county or region, be prepared to wait in traffic.
The large number of people in this state who must evacuate during a hurricane will probably cause massive delays and major congestion along most designated evacuation routes; the larger the storm, the greater the probability of traffic jams and extended travel times.
If possible, make arrangements to stay with the friend or relative who resides closest to your home and who will not have to evacuate. Discuss with your intended host the details of your family evacuation plan well before the beginning of the hurricane season.
If a hotel or motel is your final intended destination during an evacuation, make reservations before you leave.
Most hotel and motels will fill quickly once evacuations begin. The longer you wait to make reservations, even if an official evacuation order has not been issued for your area or county, the less likely you are to find hotel/motel room vacancies, especially along interstate highways and in major metropolitan areas.
If you are unable to stay with friends or family and no hotels/motels rooms are available, then as a last resort go to a shelter.
Remember, shelters are not designed for comfort and do not usually accept pets. Bring your disaster supply kit with you to the shelter. Find Pet-Friendly hotels and motels.
Make sure that you fill up your car with gas, before you leave.
Before you leave, turn off electricity at the main circuit breaker or fuse box. That will protect your appliances from power surges and reduce the risk of your getting electrocuted by live wires after the hurricane
Make a final walk-through inspection of your home just before you close the door. Look for valuables or items you need -- keys, checkbook, credit cards.
Don't stay in your car during a hurricane
A cardinal rule: Don't ride out a hurricane in your car alongside the road. Know where shelters are along the route you plan to take. The state will try to have local radio stations broadcast where local shelters are, so stay tuned to your car radio.
It is quite possible that traffic will be so congested near home that you'll realize you can't get anywhere. If so, go back home immediately.
Gridlock can kill
It all comes down to too many people in too many cars on too few roads -- gridlock on the highways with no place to go and a storm hours away. People can die on the roads that way, officials say.
Some people must leave their homes because they live in evacuation zones. But those people should stay close to home -- with friends in a well-prepared home away from the water, or in a similarly prepared hotel. Go two miles, or 10 miles -- not 200 miles.
If you're not in an evacuation zone, the best thing may be to batten down in your well-prepared home and ride out the storm there