Evacuations are more common than you might realise.

A gas leak might lead the emergency services to evacuate a street. Flooding may require you to leave your house or workplace. Not all evacuations are long term, sometimes you can return after a few hours once the emergency is over.

However, just think about a chemical incident. Your house might not be habitable and you might have to be re-housed while decontamination is carried out. Therefore, it is sensible to prepare for an evacuation.

Prepare for an evacuation

  • Talk with your family about the possibility of an evacuation. Plan where you would go, if you had to leave your house or even your town. Plan how you would get there. Remember to allow for traffic congestion, as you are unlikely to be the only person being evacuated.
  • If the emergency services advise you to shelter, do not evacuate. Follow the ‘Go in, Stay in, Tune in’ message and listen out for advice.
  • Plan a place to meet members of your household in case you are separated from one another.
  • Find out where children will be sent if schools are evacuated. Remember that this can change at a moment’s notice, if the allocated evacuation point cannot be used.
  • Assemble an ‘emergency supply kit’ that you would need in a reception centre.


  • If you are told to evacuate, leave pets behind where possible. As long as they have a water supply they will be okay for a couple of days.
  • If you must take your pet with you in an evacuation, make sure you have a secure pet carrier or leash for your pet.
  • Cater for your pet in your emergency supplies kit. Think about including pet food, water, medication, veterinary records, litter box, food dishes, first aid kit, toys or other supplies that might not be available in a reception centre.
  • Be sure your pet has a proper identification tag securely fastened to the collar (if applicable). A current photo of your pet or a microchip insert will assist identification should it become necessary.