Don't Be Left in the Dark - Weathering Floods, Storms and Power Outages--If You Have to Leave Your Home

Family Disaster Supplies

  • Change of clothes and footwear for everyone in the family
  • Sleeping bag/blanket and pillow for everyone in the family
  • Change for the pay phone
  • Insurance agent's telephone number
  • Medical insurance provider and doctors' names, addresses and phone numbers
  • Prescription medications
  • Medical supplies and equipment - denture needs, crutches, prostheses, first aid manual
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra pair of eye glasses
  • Hygiene/toiletry supplies
  • Infant and small children's needs - baby food, formula, disposable diapers, toys
  • Telephone numbers of family and friends
  • Extra set of keys - both house and car
  • Cash/travelers checks/credit cards
  • Driver's license or personal identification
  • Valuable personal papers that are in the home - insurance policies, social security cards, deed/lease, wills, recent tax return, birth and marriage certificates, stocks, bonds and other negotiable certificates

Before You Evacuate

If you have to leave your home, use the following checklists to help you do so safely and minimize the amount of damage to your home while you are away.

  • Turn off all electrical appliances.
  • Turn off the electricity at the main fuse or circuit breaker
  • Turn off water at the main valve.
  • Turn off propane gas service. Propane tanks often become dislodged in emergency situations.
  • Leave natural gas on. Unless local officials advise otherwise, leave natural gas on because you will need it for heating and cooking when you return home. If you turn the gas off, a licensed professional is required to turn it back on and it may take weeks for a professional to respond.
  • Drain your plumbing if it is likely that the temperature in your house will go below freezing. Shut off the water service valve. Then turn on the highest and lowest hot and cold water taps in the house (often a laundry sink in the basement is the lowest tap). This will drain most of the water out of your system. Also, flush toilets and remove water from lower bowl to prevent freezing damage. Leave all taps open until you return.

On the Road

Winter Emergency Car Kit
Have the following items in your car for emergencies:
  • Shovel
  • Windshield scraper
  • Blankets/sleeping bags
  • Water
  • Snack food
  • Hat and mittens for everyone in the car
  • Boots for everyone in the car
  • Rain gear
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Toolkit
  • Cellular phone
  • If you evacuate because of a flood, do not drive around barricades; they are there for your safety. If your car stalls in rapidly rising water, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
  • If you evacuate your home due to a winter storm, let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route. If you get stuck, follow the advice listed below:
    • Stay in your car. Do not try to walk to safety.
    • Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
    • Start the car and use the heater for 10 minutes every hour. This will provide heat and help recharge your car's battery. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so exhaust doesn't back up into the car.
    • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so your car can be seen.
    • As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to stay warm.
    • Keep one window (away from the blowing wind) slightly open to let in air.