With the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season well underway, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is urging residents of coastal areas to create evacuation plans in case one or more storms makes its way to the Northeast.
“If evacuation is necessary because of an approaching hurricane or tropical storm, residents and workers in an evacuation zone must respond quickly, responsibly and safely,” MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz said in a statement.
To begin making an evacuation plan, MEMA recommends contacting your local emergency management agency to see if you live or work in an evacuation zone. If so, find out what the designated evacuation routes.
Be conscious of friends and family members who need regular medical treatment. Make a plan for how you will help treat that person while on the go, MEMA said.
Pay attention to hurricane alerts and broadcasts when a storm is approaching, MEMA said.
Keep cars fully fueled if evacuation seems imminent, as gas stations often close during emergencies. Follow evacuation routes because some roads could be blocked off; expect heavy traffic.
If asked to evacuate, tell family members where you are going and only pack necessary items. If there is time, tie down outdoor furniture, close and lock windows and doors, and turn off water, electricity, and gas.
MEMA also reminds pet owners to bring animals along during evacuation, and abide by the rule, “If you go, they go!”
Schwartz said cooperation between residents and emergency officials is also crucial to a safe evacuation.
“Keys to successful evacuations include ensuring that residents of coastal communities monitor approaching storms, receive evacuation orders in a timely manner, have home and business evacuation plans, and follow those plans when evacuation orders are issued,” he said.
To get emergency alerts from MEMA via smartphone, you can download the Massachussetts Alerts app for free. Visit www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp to learn more about the app.