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Ready, set, go: Evacuation safety

Photo: doble-d/iStockphoto

If local officials suddenly issued an evacuation order for your area, would you be ready? Preparedness is important.

“Evacuations are more common than many people realize,” the City of Evanston (IL) says. “Fires and floods cause evacuations most frequently across the U.S., and almost every year, people residents are forced to evacuate because of emergencies. In addition, hundreds of times a year, transportation and industrial accidents release harmful substances, forcing many people to leave their homes.” lists the steps to follow before, during and after an evacuation.


  • Identify several places you could go in an emergency, such as a friend’s home in another town. Pick destinations in different directions so you have options.
  • Familiarize yourself with alternate routes out of your area.
  • Create a family/household plan to stay in touch in case you become separated. Choose a meeting place and update it depending on the circumstance. Include your pet in your plan.
  • Prepare an emergency supply kit. Learn more at


  • Secure your home by closing and locking doors and windows.
  • Unplug electrical equipment such as radios, TVs and small appliances. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless flooding is a risk.
  • If instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes.


  • Check with local officials before returning.
  • Once home, if the power is out, only use a portable generator outside and away from your home.

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