When community evacuations become necessary, local officials provide information to the public through the media. In some circumstances, other warning methods such as sirens or telephone calls are also used. Additionally, there may be circumstances under which you and your family feel threatened or endangered and you need to leave your home, school or workplace to avoid these situations.
The amount of time you have to leave will depend on the hazard. If the event is a weather condition, such as a hurricane that can be monitored, you might have a day or two to get ready. However, many disasters allow no time for people to gather even the most basic necessities which is why planning ahead is essential.
Evacuation: More Common Than You Realize
Evacuations are more common than many people realize. Hundreds of times each year, transportation and industrial accidents release harmful substances, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes. Fires and floods cause evacuations even more frequently. Almost every year, people along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts evacuate in the face of approaching hurricanes. Ask local authorities about emergency evacuation routes and see if maps are available with evacuation routes marked.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) has an interactive map for coastal residents to locate their hurricane evacuation zone. You can also download the official app of SCEMD on the Apple App Store or Google Play to determine which zone you’re in based on your phone's location or by entering a physical address.
- Keep a full tank of gas in your car if an evacuation seems likely. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages. Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.
- Make transportation arrangements with friends or your local government if you do not own a car.
- Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
- Gather your family and go if you are instructed to evacuate immediately.
- Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
- Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.
- Be alert for washed-out roads and bridges. Do not drive into flooded areas.
- Stay away from downed power lines.
If time permits:
- Gather your disaster supplies kit.
- Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a cap.
- Secure your home:
- Close and lock doors and windows.
- Unplug electrical equipment, such as radios and televisions, and small appliances, such as toasters and microwaves. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding.
- Let others know where you are going.
Be Prepared in Case Disaster Strikes
South Carolina has weathered its share of disasters and evacuations. When Farm Bureau Insurance customers have to leave their homes because of an emergency, they at least have the peace of mind their insurance agency will be there for them. We were there in 1988, when Hurricane Hugo struck South Carolina and caused millions of dollars in damages. We will be there for you too.
If you are not yet a member of the Farm Bureau Insurance family, find out more about our various policies, including: auto insurance, commercial insurance, farm insurance and homeowner's insurance – to name just a few. Speak to your neighbors who are already Farm Bureau Insurance members or contact a local insurance agent about our policies.