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Plan & Prepare

Protective Actions: Evacuation: Your Evacuation Plan

First Steps:

Your local and county emergency management officials have evacuation plans for all hazards. Call your County Office of Emergency Management or local Police Department and ask about the plans for your area.

  • If you live in a coastal area refer to the maps of New Jersey's Coastal Evacuation Routes.
  • But remember: Evacuation routes may change in the event of an emergency.
  • The latest and best information will be available from your local officials. During emergencies, listen to a battery-powered radio for their instructions.

If you do not drive, or do not have access to a car , buses or other forms of transit will be made available to you.

Learn how to SAFELY shut off the utility services to your home , including water, electricity and natural gas.

  • If your home is at risk of being damaged, shutting off the utilities before you Evacuate will help prevent furtherdangers such as flooding, fire or explosion.

If you have disabilities or other special needs , you might need additional time to prepare for a disaster.

  • Go to the NJOEM Special Needs and Disabilities pagefor advice on how to prepare.
  • Call your County Office of Emergency Management or local Police Department
  • Your municipality or county may have a Special Needs Registry for Emergencies, and you may be listed on it. If not, be sure your local and county Emergency Management and Police officials keep a record of your name and address, and the assistance you may need during an emergency.

Follow this link if you have Pets other than ADA service animals. Public shelters cannot accept pets, so you must plan accordingly.

Public Shelters:

When an evacuation is ordered in New Jersey , public shelters will be available to provide food and a safe place to stay.

However, you should be aware that these shelters may not be able to meet all dietary needs. They may not be able to provide the medical care you may need. And they cannot take in pets, except ADA assistance animals.

During a major emergency, the best place to evacuate is with the comfort of friends and family. If possible, make plans now to shelter with a relative or friend who lives out-of-state in the event of a major emergency.

When it is Time to Evacuate:

  • If PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICIALS order you to evacuate, take that order seriously and act IMMEDIATELY. Leave as soon as possible.
  • Bring your Emergency Kit and review your Emergency Action Plan.
  • If possible, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and sturdy shoes for maximum protection.
  • Take your pets with you. Remember that pets (other than service animals for people with disabilities) are not permitted in emergency shelters. You must follow your plan to go to a friend’s home or a pet-friendly hotel. Click here for tips.
  • Lock your home.
  • Use travel routes specified by local authorities – don’t use shortcuts because certain areas may be impassable or dangerous.
  • If flooding is a danger: Avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. Stay away from downed power lines.
  • If your home is at risk of being damaged – AND you are sure you’ll have TIME:
    • Call your family contact to tell them where you are going and when you expect to arrive.
    • Shut off water and electricity before leaving, unless local officials advise you to do otherwise.
    • Shut off thenatural gas service to your home– but first be sure you know how to do it SAFELY!
      • If you can SMELL GAS :
        • DO NOT attempt to shut off the natural gas service to your home! The smell means there is a gas leak, and attempting to shut off your service could cause a spark and an explosion.
      • If you DO NOT SMELL GAS :
        • Use a wrench to shut off natural gas service to your home at the main valve, unless local officials advise you to do otherwise.
        • If you are unable to do this, find the shutoff switch for natural gas service your laundry drier, and shut it off.
        • When you return to your home after an emergency, DO NOT use candles, matches or other open flames indoors until you know for certain that there is not a natural gas leak inside the home. This could cause a deadly explosion.
    • During flood emergencies, if time permits and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate belongings or move them to a higher floor to protect from flooding.

  • Listen to local authorities. They will provide you with the most accurate information specific to an event in your area. Stay tuned to your battery-powered radio or TV.

A Note on MANDATORY vs. VOLUNTARY Evacuations

Emergency Management officials in New Jersey have the authority to direct Voluntary Evacuations, or to order Mandatory Evacuations.

If you are told to evacuate, whether the order is Voluntary or Mandatory, you should take that order seriously and act immediately.

The penalties for failing to comply with a Mandatory Evacuation Order include possible fines or imprisonment.

Failure to follow a Mandatory Evacuation Order means placing your life in severe danger. It also means stranding yourself in an area that will most likely not have access to food, water or basic services for an extended period of time.

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New Jersey Office of Emergency Management
P. O. Box 7068
Trenton, NJ 08628


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