What to Expect When You Evacuate – Week 23
The Evacuation Center
Recently, we’ve been hearing stories about hundreds of people being evacuated from flooding in the Northeast. That is the most likely scenario for evacuation from our neighborhood! You have to leave your home, and no one is available to put you and your family up for the duration so you may have to stay at a large evacuation center.
Expect to leave your pet elsewhere. Most shelters will not allow pets. Do you have a friend who can house them? Where are the nearest boarding kennels, and how much do they cost? Please don’t leave your pet to fend for itself!
Expect the shelter to be overcrowded, confined, and warm. There will be long lines and no privacy. There will probably be no showers, electricity, or hot meals. There may not be *ANY* meals for the first 24 hours. It probably will not have cots, bedding, or toiletries. Does your go-bag have earplugs? A handkerchief and some water so you can wipe your sweaty brow? A small pillow and/or blanket you can use to make yourself more comfortable? A book or some games? Some food? A change of clothing so you can get out of your soiled garments? A flashlight?
Expect difficulty getting information. Figure out where the information center is located, and be alert for announcements.
Expect a lack of security. Keeping your stuff packed reduces the chance of theft and allows you to move quickly if the location of the shelter needs to change. Keep tabs on everyone in your group–have you discussed your meet-up plan in case you get separated?
Expect to be restrained from leaving once you arrive. Officials cannot allow the chaos that results when people can freely leave and enter the shelter. Once you get there, you stay until you are told it is OK to leave.
Expect to need your medications, official identification, and your important papers. You might be given the opportunity to start disaster aid application paperwork, and will need all that information! You know the drill, make sure these items are in your go-bag.
Expect to have pets, weapons, alcohol, and drugs confiscated.
The time is now to make sure you’re prepared for an evacuation!