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What to do when the emergency services ask you to leave your home

What to do when the emergency services ask you to leave your home
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Check list of items to take with you in an emergency

On rare occasions, the authorities will ask you to leave your home for safety reasons. Most people will probably never experience an evacuation, but it’s worth including it in your household’s emergency plan. The process will be much easier if you’ve thought it through in advance.

Why might the emergency services ask me to leave my home?

You will only be asked to leave your home if it’s essential for your safety. It may be because of an ongoing incident in your neighbourhood, for example, a flood or a fire.

What should I take when I am evacuated from my home?

When you are evacuated, you may not have much time to pack. These are some things to bring with you:

  • identification documents (passport, driving licence, ID card)
  • keys for your home and vehicle
  • cards and cash
  • mobile phone and charger
  • list of contact numbers
  • notepad and pen
  • warm clothing
  • medication and medical devices
  • glasses or contact lenses
  • baby and childcare items
  • toiletries
  • pet items
  • small sentimental or valuable items
  • insurance details

You could make a list of important items as part of your emergency plan so that you don’t have to make tough decisions at a time of crisis.

Where should I go if the emergency services ask me to leave my home?

In case of a major incident, you might be offered the choice of going to a rest centre for the duration of the emergency.

But you could choose to stay with friends and relatives.

Wherever you go, make sure the local authority can get in touch with you. Keep your mobile phone charged and switched on; or give the contact number for the place you are going.

You may want to decide in advance where you would like to evacuate to as part of your emergency planning. This will mean that you don’t have to make difficult decisions in a crisis.

What happens to my pets in an emergency?

It’s important to include pets in your emergency planning – not all shelters will let you bring every kind of pet. So it’s a good idea to plan ahead and find a place to go that will take you and your pet in an emergency situation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some information that will help you make an emergency plan that takes your pets into account.

How do I secure my home in an emergency?

The emergency services may have specific instructions about how to secure your property before you leave, so you should follow these. For example, during a flood, they may suggest you move certain items to upper floors.

Switch off appliances, damp down solid fuel stoves and fireplaces, and ensure doors and windows are secure.

How can self-storage help me during and evacuation?

Self-storage units can be used to secure any items that you can’t leave behind. You can store things for a few days or weeks until it’s safe to return to your home.

Most storage companies will require you to insure your stored domestic goods. When you insure the contents of your self-storage unit with Store and Insure, you will only pay for the time your goods are stored.