- Determine the need to evacuate. This can be simple (you hear a warning that everyone in your area must evacuate) or difficult to determine (a hurricane warning has been issued but the actual event is a few days away and it is unknown at this point if your area will need to evacuate). The best way to determine your need to evacuate is using the information that is available (from the media, your local emergency management websites, etc) and your own common sense (if you live in a hurricane-prone area you will probably have experience with this). There may be other instances when you will need to evacuate and will be informed of such (usually local law enforcement and fire service will come through your area and let you know if and when you will need to evacuate in the case of a wildfire heading your way or a chemical spill in your area).
- Make the announcement. Fortunately you have held mock evacuation drills so everyone knows what to do. Everyone will need to grab their BOBs and throw them into the vehicle; don't forget your animal's BOB too. Grab important items (stuff from your safe such as important documents, meds, cash, firearms and ammo, jewelry, etc--of course these items should be in one location so you aren't hunting all over the house for them). Securing animals to bring them with you should also be done now. And if you have enough time, fill your vehicle up with anything other useful things that will fit (camping gear, extra water, extra food, etc).
- Determine where to go and how to get there. You will need local information to determine what roads are open or closed. You will want to determine where to go (can you just leave the neighborhood and go to grandma's or do you need to get hundreds of miles away and go to evac location #2?). You will want to double check your maps/GPS for routes to get to your destination as well as alternate routes you can use.
- Do the final walk-through. Again this should be practiced ahead of time. The final walk-thru includes the following: lock all windows and exterior doors, lock interior doors if possible, if you have spare fuel, fill up your vehicle's tank, turn off utilities if necessary (electricity, gas, and water coming into the house; note this doesn't need to be done in all evacuation cases so determine if this is necessary based on the reason you are evacuating), leave a note pinned to the front door which says who evacuated to where along with contact info and your evacuation destination, lock the exit door and garage door as you leave.
- Make sure everyone is in the vehicle and ready to go. Literally make a head count to make sure you haven't forgotten anyone or any of your pets. Roll up the windows of your vehicle, turn on the radio in your vehicle if conditions are changing rapidly so you will have the latest evacuation news and information, and go.
Here are additional evacuation resources to consider: