I wanted to do another brief post on evacuation since it is on many people’s minds after Barry. I often find that this is a stressful topic for people, but it doesn’t need to be. At the end of the day, there is one simple fact that I want you to understand before we move into any other advice. Evacuation is your decision to make and your decision alone.
You are the only person that knows what you’re living situation is and whether you’re going to be safe in a hurricane or other significant weather event.
The purpose of this blog is not to discuss whether or not you should evacuate. The purpose of this blog is to discuss certain things you should take into account if you are going to evacuate. I also am not going to tell you how to evacuate. Again, the route you need to take is your decision. What you need to bring is also your decision.
The first item is that you obviously want to secure your home knowing that you’ll be gone. Unfortunately, we also need to keep in mind that you don’t know when you’re going to return. You might have a general idea as to how long, but the weather could be more catastrophic than you initially anticipated.
Accordingly, you’re going to want to do certain things like board up the windows, make sure your home is locked, and make sure your pets are being taken care of by someone (if they are not with you).
There are other things you may also want to consider from an insurance coverage perspective. Your insurance is likely going to require you to take certain actions to mitigate the damage to your home. This doesn’t mean that you can’t evacuate – it just means that you should do certain things. As we already discussed, boarding up your windows has a great potential to prevent flying objects from harming the interior of your home. Also, making arrangements with a contractor or a friend to go by the home soon after the storm will help you determine what other tasks must be done (such as tarping a roof or soaking up water).
I have previously mentioned documenting the condition of your home before evacuation. I am going to say it again, because it is easy, cheap (if not free), and really helps in making your claim.
Tying back to earlier topics, you want to do this to be able to show the “before” and “after” to your insurance company.
I also suggest making a checklist of all the things you intend to do to prepare for evacuation. It is easy to get caught up in a frenzy. Take a few minutes. Sit down and calmly make a list. Check off each item when it is done. Make sure you did everything before you leave. For instance, I am always surprised at how many people forget to empty their refrigerators. This is an easy task, and a list will help you remember to do it.
Evaluate your house and your street. Do you need to move any vehicles to higher ground? If you have things outside your house that might blow through a window, door, or even your walls, maybe you want to move them inside your house.
I could go on forever, and I will keep adding to these throughout the season, but the biggest tip is to keep your wits about you and carefully document everything you have done to protect your home. You want to make everything as painless as possible when you come home.