Develop a family hurricane preparedness plan before an actual storm threatens your area.
If your family hurricane preparedness plan includes evacuation to a safer location for any of the reasons specified with in this web site, then it is important to consider the following points:
If ordered to evacuate, do not wait or delay your departure.
If possible, leave before local officials issue an evacuation order for your area. Even a slight delay in starting your evacuation will result in significantly longer travel times as traffic congestion worsens.
Select an evacuation destination that is nearest to your home, preferably in the same county, or at least minimize the distance over which you must travel in order to reach your intended shelter location. Be sure your shelter destination can accommodate any disability related concerns.
In choosing your destination, keep in mind that the hotels and other sheltering options in most inland metropolitan areas are likely to be filled very quickly in a large, multi-county hurricane evacuation event. Be sure to alert them of any disability related needs.
If you decide to evacuate to another county or region, be prepared to wait in traffic.
The large number of people in this state who must evacuate during a hurricane will probably cause massive delays and major congestion along most designated evacuation routes; the larger the storm, the greater the probability of traffic jams and extended travel times. If possible, make arrangements to stay with the friend or relative who resides closest to your home and who will not have to evacuate. Discuss with your intended host the details of your family evacuation plan well before the beginning of the hurricane season.
If a hotel or motel is your final intended destination during an evacuation, make reservations before you leave.
Most hotel and motels will fill quickly once evacuations begin. The longer you wait to make reservations, even if an official evacuation order has not been issued for your area or county, the less likely you are to find hotel/motel room vacancies, especially along interstate highways and in major metropolitan areas.
During times of an emergency, VisitFlorida and our private sector partners in the state provide to you information on available accommodations through the Emergency Accommodations System. This partnership is intended to provide residents and visitors to the state information regarding available accommodations when they most need it. For more information go to www.visitflorida.com
If you are unable to stay with friends or family and no hotels/motels rooms are available, then as a last resort go to a shelter.
Remember, shelters are not designed for comfort and do not usually accept pets. Bring your DISASTER SUPPLY KIT with you to the shelter. Make sure that you fill up your car with gas, before you leave!
The first step in being prepared for a disaster is creating a Family Disaster Plan
More information at: http://www.floridadisaster.org/family/ - This is a set of tools and information to create your family or business emergency plan.
In planning for a disaster, you should learn about the emergency departments located in your community and their services. Before, during, and after a disaster, listen closely to the information they provide. They will supply you with details regarding the disaster event; including shelters openings/closings, safety tips to consider, and instructions to follow to ensure your safety.
When evacuating always try to use which have been pre-selected by local authorities. Using shortcuts may cause evacuation delays due to roads impassable, dangerous, or unknowingly closed. Below is a map of and your designated Evacuation Routes. Even routes identified on Florida Evacuates website may be closed without notice.
Evacuating with Pets or Service Animals
If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS or SERVICE ANIMALS BEHIND! Being prepared can save their lives. Pets most likely cannot survive on their own; and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return. Florida Evacuates Shelter Locator enables you to identify shelters that accept pets. Service animals are allowed to accompany you wherever you go.