How to Prepare to Evacuate for a Hurricane

I wish I could say that I have had no experience in evacuating my family to safer ground, but unfortunately, I’m a Pro!  As a child, we evacuated a hand full of times, but I never appreciated the planning that goes into making the trip as pleasant and safe as possible.  Now that I have my own family and home to protect, I thought I would list what I have learned in an effort to help any newbies.
My Top Ten Hints for Hurricane Evacuations

1.  Prepare the Perimeter: Trim tree branches as to avoid causing damage to your home, lock any storm doors, board windows and doors with plywood, tie down outdoor furniture, garden arbors, and swing sets.

2.  Video your Valuables: Take the time to create a video of the contents of home.  This will make insurance claims easier if your home is no longer where you left it.

3.  Protect your Policies: Make copies of your insurance policies, outstanding or monthly bills, birth certificates, kids’ shot records and other important pieces of paper you may need.

4.  Free your Fridge: Assume you will lose power during the Storm.  Discard any leftovers, milk or perishables that won’t be good when you return. Anything you may want to keep, wrap contents in plastic bags.  If power is lost, when food defrosts, you won’t be left with a sticky mess and a ruined freezer.

5.  Rate the Rooms: Consider creating a binder in advance of all the acceptable hotels in areas you may evacuate.  Do your research ahead of time on cancellation and pet policies so you will be ready to pick up and go when the time comes.

6.  Fill the Pills: Make sure you fill any necessary prescriptions ahead of time!

7.  Lift the Loot: Consider placing any irreplaceable items in a tupperware container and lifting them off the ground.

8.  Pack the Mule: Sometimes it feels like we are packing everything but our kitchen sinks, but don’t forget sentimental items (pictures, wedding videos) and your child’s favorite stuffed animal or blanket!

9.  Go Off Road:  Sometimes the easiest way out of town is not the Interstate!  Use a GPS to find back roads that may be easier that sitting in contraflow traffic.

10.  Hug Your Family:  And know that everything in your home can be replaced; your safety is more important than any possession.

5 thoughts on “How to Prepare to Evacuate for a Hurricane”

  1. Great tips on here! I live on the Gulf Coast of Florida and have been through more hurricanes than I care to tell about. When Ivan hit us directly (and we didn’t evacuate), I learned a VERY important lesson – Take out as much cash from your bank as you can! Cash becomes very important when ATM’s and credit card machines at stores no longer work. Even when the power begins to be restored, the stores that can take cards run out of staples much more quickly than the stores that have to remain on a “cash only” basis! Even if you take out too much, you can always put it back! But if you run out, you’re gonna be out of luck!

  2. wow…i watch it on the news but never thought about the worries before! living in arizona we do not have to worry about it…i have a new found repect for those that live in that part of the country…it sounds very scary for someone that did not grow up like that…stay safe!

  3. Great tips! I dread having to evacuate but after Katrina I’m not staying for anything stronger than a Cat 1. One of my tips is to leave before officials tell you to, if you can. We leave before they call for contraflow to start, this way we can go east and then North without having to get pushed in one direction or deal with heavy traffic. Also make sure you have cash / water / can goods for when you return, because you may be without power and stores for a bit. Shop at Sam’s or Costco, they carry more supply, are cheaper and people seem to forget about them in the madness.

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