Authorities will only ask you to leave your home if they have reason to believe you are in danger.

Evacuation alerts warn the public of a potential or current threat. These alerts provide critical information about an emergency and what you need to do. Alerts can lead to orders, so you should prepare to evacuate.

Evacuation orders are issued when the public must leave the area for their own safety.

Each emergency is different so there is no step-by-step guide that evacuations follow. If an evacuation alert is issued, you may have time to prepare your home for evacuation. If an evacuation order is issued, you will likely only have time to grab your emergency kit.

Printable resources

The below information is a guide; in an actual emergency, authorities will provide specific information and instructions.

What to do when an evacuation alert is issued

  • Grab your emergency kit and bring it with you.
  • In some cases, authorities will give instructions on how to protect your home. They may ask you to shut off water, electricity or gas. Do not shut off your utilities unless directed to do so.
  • If time permits, consider the following:
    • Gather valuables and cherished items to bring with you.
    • Remove all ornaments and suspended items like wind chimes or bird feeders from trees 
    • Bring all yard furnishings, bikes, trash cans, toys and outside items into the house.
    • Empty fridges and deep freezes of their contents and prop open the doors/lids. 
    • Close and lock all windows.
    • Move furniture, electrical appliances and other belongings to floors above ground level, or elevate them off the floor if possible.
    • Wrap electronics in layers of protective plastic wrap and tape to prevent water from getting inside. 
    • Lock all doors and remove any "emergency keys" you have hidden outside.
  • Let your out-of-town contact know what is happening in case you are separated from loved ones.

What do to when an evacuation order is issued

  • Grab your emergency kit and bring it with you.
  • If time permits, leave a note in your mailbox letting authorities know where you are going and how you can be reached.
  • Leave your location as soon as authorities tell you to.
  • Avoid low-lying areas such as ravines or underpasses that could flood quickly.
  • If you are caught in fast-rising waters and your vehicle stalls, abandon it to save yourself and your passengers.
  • Follow evacuation routes specified by authorities. Do not take shortcuts.
  • Drive carefully with headlights on. Make way for pedestrians and emergency vehicles.

Evacuation routes

View possible evacuation routes from your community. These routes may change during an emergency, and will be communicated to you.