Staying Safe During an Evacuation

237 at N. 1st Street, San Jose. 2013.

Contributed by the California Highway Patrol and Caltrans, photo by Flickr.

You never know when you will find yourself in the middle of an emergency and need to evacuate on a moments notice. Wildfires are currently devastating communities in Northern and Southern California, burning hundreds of thousands of acres. In an emergency situation such as a fire, first responders put evacuation orders into these communities to protect the people from potentially dangerous situations.

Law enforcement is authorized to restrict access to any area where a threat exists or where there is a public health or safety concern. Refusal to comply with those orders is a misdemeanor.

When told to evacuate, follow all directions given by law enforcement or road maintenance personnel. Determine the best route to a safe location.

If you are on the road during a fire or if you are told to leave your home and become trapped, call 9-1-1 immediately. Try to park your vehicle in an area clear of vegetation. Close all the windows and vents. Cover yourself with a blanket or jacket. Lie on the vehicle floor until help arrives.

Pay attention to any road signs providing direction or overhead Changeable Message Signs if you are on the road during a flood. Tune your radio to the Highway Advisory Radio in your area. Blue emergency signs can be seen along the highway telling you where to tune in. Be especially cautious at night. Flood dangers are difficult to see in the dark. If you encounter flooded roads, do not attempt to drive through the water.

Do not return to an evacuated area unless authorized by law enforcement personnel. This will cause crucial resources to be diverted away from the emergency. Remember, emergency personnel are there to assist you. Please follow their directions.

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