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Evacuation Guidelines

In the event of an evacuation, it is important that you prepare now. Natural or man-made disasters may force the need for you to evacuate from your current residence. At times, it may be necessary to leave the city.

When community evacuations become necessary, local officials provide information to the public through the media. Emergency information will be broadcasted through media sources such as television news channels, radio stations and the City of Worcester website. In some circumstances, other warning or notification methods, such as the City of Worcester's Emergency Alert Notification System, ALERTWorcester, will be used.

The amount of time you have to leave will depend on the hazard. However, many disasters allow no time for people to gather even the most basic necessities, which is why planning ahead is essential. In the event of a sudden evacuation, you may need to rely on resources found in your Emergency Supply Kit.

Plan how you will assemble your family and supplies and anticipate where you will go for different situations. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency and know the evacuation routes to get to those destinations. Plan and rehearse drills with your family and loved ones.

Follow these guidelines for evacuation:

  • It is important to decide on at least two different meeting places. One meeting place should be within your neighborhood and the other should be outside your neighborhood.
  • If you have a car, keep a full tank of gas in it if an evacuation seems likely. Keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case of an unexpected need to evacuate. 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.
  • Become familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency.
  • 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 road hazards such as washed-out roads or bridges and downed power lines. Do not drive into flooded areas.
  • If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if you have to. Make arrangements with family, friends or your local government.
  • Take your Emergency Supply Kit with you.
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
  • Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency.

If time allows:

  • Call or email the out-of-state contact in your Family Communications Plan (64KB). Tell them where you are going.
  • Secure your home by closing and locking doors and windows.
  • Unplug electrical equipment such as radios, televisions and small appliances. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding. If there is damage to your home and you are instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving.
  • Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a cap.
  • Check with neighbors who may need a ride.
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