Hurricane Evacuation Guide
Public Shelter Information
If emergency officials order an evacuation for your area, you must be ready to leave immediately. Plan ahead and decide now where you will go, what you will need to take with you and what route you will take.
If you are at risk for storm surge or live in a mobile home and need to evacuate, remember these tips:
- Leave early. An evacuation will increase traffic on evacuation routes so your trip will take longer than usual. Be prepared for delays. The sooner you leave, the sooner you will get to your destination and out of harm’s way. You will also spend less time in traffic.
- Consider local options.
- If you have nearby family or friends who live outside of storm-surge areas, make plans ahead of time to stay with them.
- If you can stay in a hotel or motel outside of storm-surge areas, then there may not be a need to travel long distances. As a storm approaches, rooms may fill up fast, so make plans early.
- If you must stay in a public shelter, those on higher ground within the area may be open.
- Prepare your home. Turn off electrical appliances and unplug what you can. Shut off water and gas if emergency officials instruct you to do so. (You will need a utility professional to turn water and gas back on.) Secure outdoor furniture or anything on your property that could become airborne during high winds.
- Listen for local, up-to-date information. Emergency officials will provide information about open shelters through local media. Shelters can fill quickly, and shelter information may change frequently. Shelter information will be available by calling 211.
- Plan now for your pets. Some emergency shelters, hotels and motels will only accept service animals. Talk to your veterinarian or local humane society in advance about an emergency plan for your pets, or plan to stay with family or friends or at a pet-friendly hotel. Have copies of your pets’ immunization records ready to go.
Whether your plan is to go to a family or friend’s home, hotel or shelter, take your disaster supply kit with you. Gather essential supplies to support your family for at least three days, including:
- A three-day supply of special items for elderly, disabled or infant members of your household
- Copies of important documents, such as insurance policies and birth certificates that will help you claim assistance after the disaster
- Blankets, sheets or sleeping bag, pillows and something to sleep on, such as a cot, air mattress or cushion, if you must stay at a shelter
For more information about how to prepare your family for a disaster, visit www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia.
Public shelters are a last resort. They provide basic necessities such as food, water and a small amount of space for your family to stay.
Most shelters do not provide items such as cots, bedding or items for infants or those with special medical needs. Relief organizations may provide some of these items after the storm has passed, but you should be prepared to provide these supplies for your family until help arrives.
For information about how to prepare for all types of emergencies, visit www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia