Depending on the severity of the emergency, municipal authorities may ask you to evacuate your home or to stay in it, for safety or health reasons. If you’re uncertain, use common sense to help you decide if you should leave your home or not, in a disaster.
Should You Evacuate Your Home, or Stay?
What Should You Do When Evacuating your Home?
- Leave immediately.
- Follow orders issued by your municipal authorities.
- Shut off water and electricity if asked to do so.
- Bring along your emergency kit and prescription medications.
- Find a safe place for pets or take them with you to a public shelter, that is if the shelter is pet-friendly.
- Lock the doors to your home.
- Shut off gas only if it has been ordered, since only the company can turn it back on, which can take time.
- Use the route indicated by your municipal authorities to go to a shelter, when the situation calls for it.
- Register at the public shelter. This will make it easier for family members to find you.
If You Must Leave Rapidly
- Over-the-counter medication – acetaminophen, ibuprofen, antihistamine, etc.;
- Prescription medications (prescribed by your doctor); Personal care items – tooth brushes, towels, soap, toilet paper;
- Spare clothing;
- A set of house and car keys;
- Personal I.D.;
- Baby items – infant formula, disposable diapers, baby bottles;
- Pet care items – food, medication, leash;
- A cane, a walker or a wheelchair, for persons with reduced mobility.
How Can You Find Your Family Members?
The following actions can save you a lot of worries:
- Get to know what the emergency procedures are at your children’s school or daycare. That way, you’ll know whom to call to find out where they are.
- Enter important phone numbers into the contact list on your cellphone.
- Give the school and daycare center the numbers where you can be reached.
- Agree upon a pre-arranged meeting place, if your children are not in school.
- If possible, identify a person to call who lives outside your municipality.
- Pass on this information to all your family members.
What If You’re Asked to Stay at Home?
Follow orders issued by your municipal authorities.
- Close all windows and doors.
- Follow news on radio, television or on the Internet and obey recommendations that are issued.
In the case of extreme situations, for example, if there is toxic smoke near your residence:
- Use plastic adhesive tape to seal around doors and windows;
- Shut off any systems in your home that have an outdoor air intake (air exchanger, air conditioner, heat pump, stove hood, dryer, etc.);
- Use damp rags or cloth to block outdoor intakes for these systems to prevent toxic gas from seeping into your home.