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Evacuating in the Face of a Hurricane

Author: ServiceMaster Restore

When a hurricane strikes, will you be prepared? Typically, several warnings about local hurricanes are issued before they hit your area. That way, you have ample time to pack up and leave your location, ensuring that everyone in your household stays safe. Since hurricanes can cause severe damage to your property and potentially put your life at risk, it's important for you to know what to do every step of the way. Find out what you need to do as a hurricane approaches your home with tips from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore®.


If hurricanes are common in your community, there may already be pre-mapped hurricane evacuation routes in place. If you commonly see road signs designating an official evacuate route, your city more than likely has a pre-mapped plan. Check with your local emergency services to determine if your area already knows where to go when disaster strikes. If they do, print it out and study it before an evacuation is even needed.

If your local community doesn't have a pre-determined route, consider the following steps to plan your own evacuation in the event a hurricane hits:

  • Stay aware of common evacuation guidelines.
  • Designate an area outside of the hurricane zone to meet up with your family. That way, if you aren't all together when disaster strikes, everyone will know exactly where to go.
  • Tell your friends and family what your evacuation route is so they can stay in contact with you until the storm has passed.
  • Create a buddy system. This ensures that everyone is accounted for and knows who to stick with in case disaster strikes.
  • Plan to leave as early as possible to avoid traffic and minimize delays.


Our children and pets depend on us to ensure they're safe, especially during a serious storm. Here are some tips to get your loved ones ready to evacuate:

  • Teach your kids common preparedness tips to help them stay calm and in control during an evacuation.

  • Pack a travel bag ahead of time with your kids' favorite clothes, toys, and games to entertain them while waiting out the storm.

  • Bring plenty of snacks and water along, as well as all necessary medication.

  • Have a go-to bag ready that contains things like dog or cat food, a travel crate, blankets, and medication for your pets.

  • If your evacuation plan includes meeting at a hotel, make sure it's pet-friendly before you reserve a room.


Your local authorities will keep you updated on the hurricane's status through news alerts, social media, text alerts, emails and even phone calls. As it moves closer to your area, they will tell you when you need to evacuate and head for higher ground.

To stay in control during this scary situation, you can also follow these steps to determine when it's the right time for you to leave:

  • Listen carefully to the local news stations or radio broadcasts.
  • Keep an eye on the hurricane's path. If it looks like it may approach your area within 20-36 hours, you should begin to evacuate.
  • If you live on or near a body of water, evacuate your area before communities that live more inland do.
  • Remember to stay calm and if you're ever in doubt, evacuate anyway. Even if you are not completely sure that a hurricane will hit your area, taking the necessary precautions will ensure that you stay safe.
  • Always bring your emergency preparedness kit with you.

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