If you had to evacuate your home right now, would you be prepared; would you know what to do, what to take with you, where to go, who to notify?

Evacuations are more common than many people realize. Fires and floods cause evacuations most frequently across the U.S. and almost every year, people residents here in California are forced to evacuate because of wildfires. In addition, hundreds of times a year, transportation and industrial accidents release harmful substances, forcing many people to leave their homes.  Are you prepared to leave right now?

In some circumstances the hazard or threat may require mandatory evacuations (evacuation orders). In other situations, evacuations may be advised for your safety with voluntary evacuations (evacuation warning) and in certain circumstances it may be best for you to remain indoors where you are located (shelter in place).  Regardless of the type of situation, always follow instructions by public safety personnel; do not hesitate.  When voluntary evacuations are issued, it is advised that you heed the warning and take that time to evacuate.

The amount of time you have to leave will depend on the hazard; many incidents allow no time for people to gather even the most basic necessities, which is why planning ahead is essential.

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.