Disaster - Stay or Go?

FIRST IMPORTANT DECISION in a disaster is whether you stay where you are or evacuate.

Deciding to Stay or Go:

Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the emergency, the first important decision is whether you stay or go. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. Use common sense and available information to determine if there is immediate danger. In any emergency, local authorities may or may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should monitor television radio internet or social media news reports for information or official instructions as they become available. evacuate or seek medical treatment, do so immediately. If you require additional travel time or need transportation assistance, make these arrangements in advance.

Staying Put: 

Whether you are at home or elsewhere, there may be situations when it’s simply best to stay where you are and avoid any uncertainty outside. Consider what you can do to safely shelter-in-place alone or with friends, family or neighbors, also consider how a shelter designated for the public would meet your needs. Work with local emergency managers and others in your community on preparing shelters in advance to meet the access and functional needs of children and adults with disabilities. If you have options and decide to stay put and shelter in place, consider that you may be without electricity, phone service and accessible roads for days or longer, depending on circumstances.


There may be conditions in which you will decide to get away or there may be situations when you may be ordered to leave. Plan how you will get away and anticipate where you will go. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency. Ask about evacuation plans at the places where you spend time including work, school, community organizations and other places you frequent. If you typically rely on elevators, work with others to develop back-up plans for evacuation in case they are not working.