Hurricane Evacuation Guide
Staying at Home vs. Evacuation
An evacuation order does not mean that you need to leave in order to stay safe, particularly those living in areas on higher ground. Evacuation orders keep residents safe from storm surge. They are intended to protect those living or working in low-lying areas from the affects of storm surge or flooding. If local officials call for an evacuation, it may be for specific areas only. Mobile homes and trailers are especially vulnerable to high winds, so if you live in one of these structures, you should evacuate before a hurricane strikes, regardless of the threat of flooding.
To find out if you live in a low-lying area that could flood because of storm surge, check the maps available from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM).
Before, during and after a disaster, it is vital that you listen to your local news for the most up-to-date information from emergency officials. Local news stations will broadcast critical instructions from local, state and federal government officials, such as:
- Evacuation orders for specific areas
- Details on evacuation routes
- Locations of evacuation shelters
- How to stay safe if not ordered to evacuate
- Where to find assistance
- Weather watches and warnings
Because it is sometimes safer to stay at home, it is important that you listen for local instructions.
If you are ordered to stay where you are, or “shelter in place,” stay inside and remain there until emergency officials announce it is safe for you to leave the shelter of your home.
Also follow these safety tips:
- Use your family emergency plan.
- Locate your disaster supply kit. Make sure you have at least a three-day supply of water, food that won’t spoil, a battery-powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries.
- Tune to a local radio or television station for additional information.
- Stay indoors. Close all windows and doors.
- Bring pets indoors. Make sure you have food and water for them.
- Plan to be without utilities – electricity, gas, telephone or cable service – for an extended period.
Remember: Find out if you live in an area that could flood because of storm surge by reviewing the VDEM maps.
For information about how to prepare for all types of emergencies, visit www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia