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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Evacuating Safely

  • Listen to State and Local Officials: Your state and local officials, especially those from the emergency management agency and public health department, can help keep you safe and healthy before, during and after the storm. Connect with them now so you have the information you need when you need it most.

  • Plan Your Evacuation Routes: Plan how you will assemble your family and supplies and anticipate where you will go for different situations. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency and know the evacuation routes to get to those destinations.  Check out FEMA's evacuation guidelines to help you start planning.

  • Know what to do in a Hurricane Watch: The National Weather Service will issue a hurricane watch when there is a threat to coastal areas of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours. So what does that mean for you and your family and what should you do? Learn what to do before a hurricane now so you know what to do if a hurricane watch is issued.

  • Plan for your Pets: Many emergency shelters cannot accept pets, so plan for shelter alternatives such as going to a friend's house or using a hotel in the area you plan to evacuate to. Check out FEMA's guidelines on evacuating with pets for some other ideas on how to keep them safe.   Put together a grab and go kit for your pets so that you have the items you handy for a quick, safe evacuation. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has a great emergency supplies and traveling kits checklist to help you out.

  • Find a Shelter:: If you are evacuating, you may need to find a shelter. You can find an open shelter using the FEMA Mobile App. In addition, the Red Cross disaster shelter locator can help you find an open shelter. Floridians and visitors can go to or download the app to enter their location & see shelters available in their area.

  • This page last reviewed: September 20, 2017