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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.
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