What should you do to evacuate?

Some chemical emergencies, such as a train derailment or terrorist attack, may make staying put and sealing off your space (sheltering in place) dangerous to you. It may be safer for you to leave the area of danger (evacuate). You may need to go to an emergency shelter after leaving the area of danger.

If you have pets, you will need a plan to care for them. Taking care of a pet in a chemical emergency is not as simple as caring for yourself or a loved one.

Because every emergency is different, you may hear special instructions. Listen to the radio, television, or your mobile news app or check your cell phone for text alerts from the emergency alert system and follow any instructions from your police, fire, or other local officials.

In general, you should do these following things.

If you are home
  • If you are told to go to a shelter, follow the directions to the shelter.
  • Check with neighbors to see if they need a ride if you have your own car, truck, or other vehicle.
  • Call or text a friend or relative outside your area to let them know where you are going, and that you are safe. Local cell phone networks may be jammed. Leave a note in your home where you are going.
What do you wear?
  • Wear clothing that provides some protection such as long pants, long sleeves, and closed shoes.
What do you bring?
  • Bring your Ready to Go bag.
  • Bring any medications you will need for up to a week
  • Bring your pets. If you leave your pets behind, they may be lost, injured, or worse.
  • Never leave a pet chained outdoors.

The shelter will have most of the other supplies you will need.

How do you evacuate with your pet?
  • Put your pet in a pet carrier or crate.
  • Take your pet’s Ready to Go bag and a 2 weeks supply of your pet’s medications.
  • Be aware some shelters, such as those of the American Red Cross, take only service animals. Local emergency services may have information on other area shelters that take pets.
  • Local animal shelters or your veterinarian may offer advice on what do with your pets if you must evacuate and cannot take them with you.
What if you are NOT home?
  • In a chemical emergency, cars, trucks, or other vehicles may not be airtight enough to protect you.
  • Listen to the radio, your mobile news app, or check your phone for messages to find the nearest shelter and go there. Follow instructions from your police, fire, or other local officials.
What if your children, loved ones, or pets are not with you?
  • They may be sheltered where they are.
  • Use your emergency plan to stay in contact if you and your loved ones are separated. You may need to relay messages through texts or other social media.
  • Do not try to go to your children, loved ones, or pets unless police, fire, or other local officials says it is safe.
  • Contact your buddy or trusted neighbor so they can take care of your pet until it is safe for you to return home.
How will you know when it is safe for you to go home?
  • You will receive the all clear from your police, fire or other local officials.
  • Follow instructions from your police, fire, or other local officials for what to do once you return home to make sure you stay safe.