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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Evacuating Safely

​When disaster strikes in your area, evacuating safely can save your life.  Here are four important things you can do to protect your health and the health of others in a disaster.

    • Listen to Local Officials​. Listen to the news to learn about current evacuation orders. Follow the instructions of local officials about when and where to evacuate.
    • Bring the Essentials. Take only essential items with you. Follow designated evacuation routes – others may be blocked–and expect heavy traffic.
    • Find Open SheltersUse the American Red Cross shelter locator to find a shelter near you that is operated by the Red Cross or one of their partner agencies. If you need to leave your home due to a disaster or emergency, you are welcome to come to a Red Cross shelter.  Your service animal is also welcome. Please speak with a shelter worker if your service animal is in need of food or supplies.
    • Evacuating with pets. Although service animals are allowed in all evacuation centers, pets are not allowed in many disaster evacuation centers.  Before you go to a shelter, check to make sure that the shelter you are going to accepts pets.  Bring the basics with you:  food, water, a leash, identification, and any medicines that they are taking.  To learn more, check out Pets and Animals.

  • This page last reviewed: October 16, 2017