While evacuation is generally considered as a last resort, evacuations are more common than you may think. A gas leak may cause the emergency services to evacuate a whole street.
Not all evacuations are long term. You sometimes can return after a few hours but in a chemical incident, your house may not be habitable and you would have to be re-housed while decontamination is carried out.
It is worth being prepared for an evacuation
- Always listen to the advice of the emergency services. They will inform you and tell you what to do and where to go.
- Discuss with your family what you would do in the event of an evacuation. Plan where you would go if you had to leave your home / village / town. Remember to allow for traffic congestion as you are unlikely to be the only person being evacuated.
- Plan a place to meet your family in case you are separated during a disaster.
- Find out where children will be sent if schools are evacuated. Remember that this can change at a moment’s notice if the allocated evacuation point cannot be used.
- Assemble an emergency supply kit including essential items like prescription medicine, baby items (if applicable), toiletries, phone numbers, radio etc.
- Know how to shut off your home’s electricity, gas and water supplies at main switches and valves and have the necessary tools to hand.
- If a hard freeze is likely during your absence, take action to prevent damage to water pipes.
- Close and lock windows and doors when you leave.
- If you are told to evacuate, leave pets behind. You may have to leave your pets with the RSCPA to be picked up after you are able to return home.
- If you must take your pet with you, make sure you have a secure pet carrier or leash.