Tips To Stay Safe While Evacuating Palm Beach County
Palm Beach County Mayor Robert Weinroth announced an evacuation of coastal neighborhoods and other vulnerable areas to prepare for a possible hit from the storm expected to become Hurricane Nicole. The county ordered the evacuation of zones A and B, which includes barrier islands, low-lying areas and mobile home communities. To check your evacuation zone, go to pbcgov.com.
It is extremely important to have a hurricane preparedness and evacuation plan. Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) offers the following advice to prepare for evacuation:
IF AN EVACUATION IS ORDERED:
- Make sure your vehicle is fueled up and well serviced before hitting the road. Fuel availability may be uncertain and what is available is likely to generate long lines.
- Have a specific destination in mind and the route planned prior to departing. Be sure to carry necessary maps as mobile phone connections and navigation may be inconsistent.
- Carry a supply of food and water for each person traveling in the vehicle.
- Withdraw money early and have sufficient cash to cover food, gas and lodging for several days. ATMs may be empty or inoperable following a storm.
- Pack a lot of patience and be prepared for delays. Do not wait to leave until a mandatory evacuation order is given. To alleviate traffic congestion, avoid the rush and depart sooner rather than later.
It is also important to remember that the roads may become more dangerous during an evacuation situation, from both weather conditions and increased stress due to traffic and situational anxiety. The CDC recommends the following tips for driving safely in a Disaster Location:
- Use your safety belt at all times.
- Drive at a speed that is safe for road and weather conditions.
- Recognize that traffic control information may not be posted because of damage to traffic signs.
- Stop lights and street signs may be missing or not working – Treat intersections where lights are out as a four-way stop.
- Recognize that police/law enforcement may be unable to enforce traffic laws.
- Be alert for trash in the road and for road damage.
- Be alert for trash falling from haul trucks and other vehicles.
- Keep space between you and other vehicles.
- Make sure to secure cargo or trash carried by your vehicle – shifting loads may fall or make the vehicle unstable.
- Avoid driving through water, especially when it is fast moving.
- As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your car or truck.
- Two feet of water will carry most cars away.
- Do not drive through standing water if fallen electrical wires are in the water.
- Avoid driving when tired, fatigued, or upset.
- Do not use a cell phone while operating a vehicle.
- Avoid other distractions, such as eating, drinking, or adjusting vehicle controls, while driving.
- Plan your route in advance.
Visit floridadisaster.org to find information on shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.