When community evacuations become necessary, local officials provide information to the public through the media. In some circumstances, other warning methods, such as sirens or telephone calls, also are used. Additionally, there may be circumstances under which you and your family feel threatened or endangered and you need to leave your home, school, or workplace to avoid these situations.
The amount of time you have to leave will depend on the hazard. If the event is a weather condition, such as a hurricane that can be monitored, you might have a day or two to get ready. However, many disasters allow no time for people to gather even the most basic necessities, which is why planning ahead is essential.
Evacuation: More Common than You Realize
Evacuations are more common than many people realize. Hundreds of times each year, transportation and industrial accidents release harmful substances, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes. Fires and floods cause evacuations even more frequently. Almost every year, people along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts evacuate in the face of approaching hurricanes.
View Brevard County's evacuation routes.
Watch or Warning?
An announcement that you could experience winds of 74 miles per hour or higher within 24 hours. You should secure your property and plan your evacuation.
Before a Hurricane
To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:
- Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Determine how and where to secure your boat.
- Consider building a safe room.
During a Hurricane
If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:
- Listen to the radio or TV for information.
- Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
- Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
You should evacuate under the following conditions:
- If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
- If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure-such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
- If you live in a high-rise building-hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
- If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
- If you feel you are in danger.
If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room.
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
Sustained Winds: 74 to 95 miles per hour
Moderate Damage: Structures may experience little damage; possible power outages
Storm Surge: 4 to 5 feet
Sustained Winds: 96 to 110 miles per hour
Moderate Damage: All mobile homes, roofs, small crafts, flooding
Storm Surge: 6 to 8 feet
Sustained Winds: 111 to 130 miles per hour
Extensive Damage: Small buildings, low-lying roads cut off
Storm Surge: 9 to 12 feet
Sustained Winds: 131 to 155 miles per hour
Extreme Damage: Roofs destroyed, trees down, roads cut off, mobile homes destroyed, beach homes flooded
Storm Surge: 13 to 18 feet
Sustained Winds: More than 155 miles per hour
Catastrophic Damage: Most buildings destroyed, vegetation destroyed, major roads cut off, homes flooded
Storm Surge: Greater than 18 feet