AUBURN, Ala. – During hurricane season, there are times when people need to evacuate from an area for their safety. There are two types of evacuations that you may encounter, voluntary evacuations and mandatory/directed evacuations. It is important to know the differences between these evacuations and how to act during them.
A voluntary evacuation is a warning to people within a designated area that a threat to life and property exists or is likely to exist in the immediate future. When this type of warning is given, people do not have to evacuate. However, it would be to your advantage to follow this evacuation warning.
Mandatory or Directed Evacuation
This type of evacuation is a warning that an imminent threat to life and property exists. During this warning, individuals must evacuate in accordance with the instructions from local officials.
Deciding When to Evacuate
One factor to consider when deciding whether to evacuate is the type of disaster or emergency. Some emergencies allow you time to prepare, such as hurricanes and winter storms. Other emergencies can come upon you quickly, such as flooding, wildfires or tornadoes.
If you live in a flood-prone area, it is best to evacuate during the voluntary phase. This allows you the time needed to move to an area of safety. Flood waters rise . suddenly and trap you, making it difficult or impossible to leave at a later time.
If assistance is needed in moving an individual you care for, it is best to plan early and move early. Waiting too late to evacuate, you may not be able to find friends or neighbors to help you.
If you choose not to evacuate during the voluntary phase, it is imperative that you monitor the emergency situation closely. What ever you decide, it is extremely important to have an evacuation plan.
For more information, view the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Emergency Handbook iBook that is free to download from iTunes or find it online at http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ACES-2168/index.php.
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