When the Zombies or another hurricane comes your way, you may need to evacuate with your loved ones. Evacuating millions of people is not an easy task for governments or individual evacuees. Here are a few things that my family learned from evacuating for Hurricane Matthew.
1. Evacuate as soon as possible. If you think you will need to evacuate, don't wait. If you hit the road before most people, you'll avoid at least some of the heaviest traffic.
2. Make hotel reservations immediately. If you think you're going to be evacuating, you'll need to make a hotel reservation right away. During the Hurricane Matthew evacuation, every hotel that was connected to internet reservation systems completely booked up. My parents found that all hotels in Georgia off of I-75 and all hotels in Florida off of I-10 were completely booked. That left only a few non-chain independent hotels and motels with vacancies.
|A Motel 6 in Valdosta, GA photo by Michael Rivera (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons|
3. Have a list of evacuation locations in mind. When you visit other parts of the state, note potential evacuation destinations (fish camps, non-branded mom & pop motels, campgrounds, etc.). I remembered a few independent motels, bed & breakfasts, campgrounds, and fish camps that were off the beaten path in the Florida panhandle. I was able to work the phone and find them an undisclosed secure location.
4. Gas Up Early. A full tank of gas makes it easy to bug out. Gas started to get scarce in North Florida just before the evacuation. Many evacuees lost valuable time waiting in gas lines. During hurricane season, staying gassed up is a good idea.
|Gas Lines in Summit, N.J., after Hurricane Sandy - photo by Tomwsulcer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons|
5. Pre-cut plywood speeds the process of boarding up. When my parents returned to Florida, they made sure that they had plywood pre-cut to fit their windows. They also had anchors drilled into the bricks around the windows and screws set aside. All of these preps made boarding up a far faster process.
6. Bring food, water, and snacks for the road. Traffic often moves slowly during an evacuation. You'll want to keep moving and minimize pit stops.
7. Evacuate, but don't believe the hype. The Weather Channel and other media outlets led everyone to believe that 8 to 10 foot flood surges might obliterate coastal property. But, in Florida, that prediction didn't come through. So, keep a positive attitude until you can confirm the damage yourself!