Where To Go

No matter what the disaster, if you have friends or family who can take you in, this is the best place to go. The surroundings will be familiar. You can contribute to caring for yourself and your family, which helps reduce stress. And, this helps the community too. Every family that takes care of itself for food, water and shelter reduces the burden on the disaster relief efforts.

If you can't go to family or friends, you can try to go to a hotel. This requires some advanced planning and a lot of money. Unless the disaster involves a very small area, the hotels are likely to be full. Having reservations may not help, particularly if the room is already occupied by an evacuee who got there before you. Even if you get a room, it may be nothing but basic shelter. If it is near the disaster area, the hotel may lose power, lack employees to do basic services, and be unable to get supplies.

Go to a public shelter if you do not have an adequate alternative. Listen to the radio and find out where shelters are being set up and go where you are directed by the public officials in the disaster area. If there is no one around to direct you, head for the nearest large church, school, or public building. If it is not a shelter, there may be someone there who can help you find a place to go.

Do not travel any farther than is necessary. Roads may be jammed and gasoline may be scarce. You are generally safer in a shelter than stuck on a road. If you do not have a way to get to family or friends, go to a shelter first. Many people do not have to stay in a shelter for long. The shelters usually have transportation services to help people get to more permanent or appropriate housing.

Do not go to a hospital unless you are sick or hurt. People often show up at the local hospital because they think it will be safe or they just canít think of anywhere else to go. This crowds the hospital, uses up scarce resources and makes it difficult for people who actually need medical care. The exception to this is if you are a medical professional. If you are a doctor, nurse, paramedic, etc., take medical identification and go to a hospital to volunteer. If you are needed elsewhere, they can direct you.

Do not go to a hospital
unless you are sick or hurt