There are times that staying in your home is not the safest route for you and your family. You may want to believe that your home provides security no matter what you are up against, but certain situations will require an evacuation to a safer place.
Weather-related evacuations are the most common, but rioting and fears of arson or burglary can also drive you out.
When you decide to leave your home, you will want to follow certain steps to ensure that you take everything that you need with you, as well as leave your home as secure as you can, in hopes you will return to it.
Secure Your Property
Whatever the reason is for you to leave your home, you will want to make every effort to protect the physical investment of the house.
Even if you leave your home because of a hurricane, flooding, or blizzard, an abandoned property can become a target for opportunistic criminals.
In addition to protecting the property with sandbags and boarded up windows, you will want to prevent looters from entering the building.
Before disaster ever strikes, you should make an effort to outfit your home with a security system, cameras, floodlights, and a fence that can make your home undesirable as a target. Trading wooden doors for metal ones and investing in deadbolts can make entry difficult.
- If the time for these precautions has passed and you are in a hurry to leave, there are still several efforts you can take before leaving.
- Remove all valuables from sight and cover all of your windows.
- Turn the volume on your doorbell down and leave a radio playing softly near the door so it is unknown if you are home or not.
- Lock all windows and doors, including those on a second story.
Take a few minutes to photograph your home before you leave it so that you can present photos to the insurance company.
It is tempting to pack everything you own, but most material possessions can be replaced.
Focus on the following items:
- Identification including driver’s license, passport, and social security card
- Cash, credit cards, and checkbooks
- Keys to the house and all vehicles
- Firearms and ammunition
- Prescription medications, eyeglasses & contact lenses, baby items, and toiletries
- Legal documents: Deeds, leases, insurance policies, wills, powers of attorney, medical directives, and guardian papers
- All small-scale electronics you can easily pack, plus chargers
- Ample clothing for each member of your family that is season-appropriate and comfortable
- Pets and their supplies
- Items that cannot be replaced, like family heirlooms and photo albums
Make every effort to remove items of significant value from the home, such as jewelry, coins, and guns.
Be Organized and Don’t Panic
It is recommended that you keep important documents together and in a safe place so that you can easily grab paperwork that you will want to bring with you. Make a list and stick to it; don’t spend too much time looking for items you can replace later.
Leave during daylight hours and make sure you know where you are headed and how to get there.
Be certain that conditions in the place that you are going are an improvement over where you are, and that you have a safe place to stay.