Hurricane Season: Should you evacuate?

Published on June 18, 2018 with No Comments

When learning a major hurricane has targeted your city, are you indecisive about evacuating or do you have a plan?

It’s your responsibility to determine the risk for your family whether to stay or go. Evacuating tens of miles to a shelter within the county has its advantages–avoiding traffic jams and the uncertainty that comes with hitting the crowded highways as other counties leave town along with you. Many find traveling the same path of the storm can only place you in harms way.

If evacuating is not an option, it’s good to have a plan to follow to have safe shelter for your family.

Ask to shelter with family and friends, find a hotel or motel in a safe area of the county or know where the closest shelter is and how to get there.

Here’s a list of questions to consider when deciding to evacuate or not:

  • Do you live in a mobile or manufactured home? If the answer is yes, you should always evacuate
  • Do you live in an evacuation zone? If you don’t know  your zone, find it by typing in your address at
  • Do you know where the public shelters are located? Santa Rosa County does  not have any hurricane shelters south of Interstate 10 because the area is under the greatest risk. This is not only because of storm surge or wind damage, but also the possibility of roads and areas becoming impassible or inaccessible for emergency services being able to reach people.
  • Do you have special needs or vulnerabilities? Make sure you have a plan and if you need to go to a Special Needs Shelter, you must be pre-registered. You can register online, by phone or by mail. 850-983-5360 or go to
  • Do you need to go to the pet friendly shelter? Make sure you have your et pre-registered and understand the procedures for the pet-friendly shelter. You must stay at the shelter with your pet.
  • Do you require transportation to a shelter? Before an evacuation is ordered, pre-register by calling 850-983-5360. If an evacuation has already been ordered, call 850-983-4636 to arrange transportation.

If you should decide to evacuate:

  • Evacuate quickly and in daylight if possible.
  • Tell someone outside the warning area where you are going. If you can’t get through on a cell phone, try texting.
  • Follow the official evacuation routes.
  • Have a back-up plan in case you cannot reach your ‘safe place.’
  • Keep your gas tank full.
  • Be alert for washed out roads and bridges.
  • Do not drive in flooded areas. Turn around, don’t drown.
  • Stay away from downed power lines.
  • Consider the needs of children, elderly and pets.
  • Visit for state-wide evacuation and shelter information.

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