How to create a hurricane evacuation plan for you and your family

May 10, 2021

Prepare your family by having a hurricane evacuation plan ahead of time.

A car following the route from a hurricane evacuation plan.

As the waters of the Gulf and the Atlantic begin to warm, Texas hurricane season looms. While hurricane season is typically June 1st to November 30th, you'll want to prepare beforehand. In part one of our hurricane preparedness series, we'll guide you through the process of preparing a hurricane evacuation plan for you and your family.

How to prepare your family to evacuate

When disaster strikes, preparation can make all the difference in the world. Not only does it ensure that you and your family are able to safely and quickly flee danger, it can provide order and reassurance in an otherwise frightening time.

Creating a plan

In the months leading up to hurricane season, call a family meeting. Sit down with them and begin to plan and consider some of the following items to ensure you have a safe and effective evacuation plan.

Find out if you live in an evacuation zone. First things first, figure out if your home is in an high-risk area, or evacuation zone. The zones are broken into zip codes starting at the Gulf Coast and moving inland.

Create a plan and go over it with your family. If the order to evacuate is issued, you don't want to scramble to leave. Plan each step in your family's evacuation plan and if possible, assign certain family members a task. For example, have one person be responsible for the evacuation kit and another see to loading items into the vehicle. Assign these tasks in advance and periodically review them with each family member and practice it with them if necessary. Not only does this ensure the evacuation process goes smoothly, having specific tasks can help calm nerves during a stressful time.

Provided by FEMA, this document can help you outline your plan, keep track of your family's critical personal information, and catalogue other important information like your doctor's phone number. Print a copy and use it during your family meeting and make sure to add a copy to your emergency kit

Have a destination in mind. While your first priority should be getting you and your family out of harm's way, you'll need a place to go at some point. This could be an extended family member's house, a friend's place, or a hotel - as long as it's in a safe place. Having a destination in mind places an ending to the evacuation process, which can be psychologically important. Furthermore, your destination may determine which evacuation route you take.

Plan an evacuation route. There are a number of resources you should consult when planning an evacuation route. The Texas Department of Transportation provides up-to-date evacuation routes, which outline the major highways that can be used to leave evacuation zones. Reference these maps and discuss the best route for you and your family. It may also be a good idea to have alternate routes planned in the event of road closures.

Pack and prepare the essentials

Ensuring that you and your family have the supplies you need to evacuate is an essential part of creating a hurricane evacuation plan. When laying out the framework for your plan, make sure to pack and prepare the following items. 

Evacuation kit. While an evacuation kit can vary depending on you and your family's individual needs, there are some items you should always have on hand:
  • Batteries
  • Flashlight
  • Mobile phone
  • Food
  • Water
  • Emergency radio
  • Blankets
  • Extra clothes
  • Toiletries and personal hygiene items
  • First aid kit, including essential medications
  • Map and map of evacuation routes (see section below)
Plan for those with special needs. If you have infants, elderly family members, or anyone in your home with special needs, make sure to think through everything they will need to evacuate. This could be spare baby formula, diapers and wipes, or car seats. If possible, stock up on extra medications beforehand, too.

Pack for pets. Pets have special needs, too! When preparing your evacuation kit, make sure to have pet food packed, any medications they need, and some sort of carrying crate and or leash. Having a few extra treats or your pet's favorite toy may come in handy if your pet becomes anxious.

Gas up your car and make sure it's in driving condition. The last thing you want when evacuating is car trouble. Before the onset of hurricane season, make sure your vehicle has a fresh oil change and top off all of the fluids. Keep the gas tank full and maintain your tire pressure, too. Finally, check your windshield wipers and replace them if they're brittle or old.

Have cash on hand. While credit cards and digital wallets are probably fine, having cash on hand is a good idea. During emergency scenarios, systems can be overburdened and you might not be able to use mobile pay or credit cards. Cash always works, and in an emergency scenario, you need to be able to buy the essentials.

Texas hurricane evacuation resources

As mentioned previously, there are a number of resources you can utilize, both when planning your evacuation route and during an evacuation.

Evacuation route planning resources

These sites can be helpful when preparing your hurricane evacuation route. Remember, cell service may be limited in the event of an emergency, so print out a copy of the evacuation route maps and keep them with your kit. 

Evacuation information

If a hurricane necessitates evacuation, information can change quickly. In addition to having your radio tuned to the NOAA Weather Radio, use these resources to keep you and your family up-to-date with the latest storm and evacuation information. A hurricane evacuation route sign.

Get a property insurance quote from Germania Insurance and be prepared when disaster strikes.

Read more: After you've prepared your evacuation plan, read our next blog to learn how to prepare your home for a hurricane

by Geoff Ullrich

About the Author

Geoff Ullrich is a writer and Content Marketing Strategist at Germania Insurance.

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