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University of Houston - Victoria

Homeland Security

Shelter in Place : Evacuation

All evacuation plans need three things:

  1. Where to go
  2. How to get there
  3. What to bring with you

Evacuation is usually the last option but may be necessary especially if the attack is in any way associated with a radiological incident or "dirty bomb." It will depend on how close you are to the epicenter of the explosion and the prevailing winds.

If you are close to the epicenter of the explosion, move quickly away. If you are upwind stay where you are, move upwind or, if that is not possible, move across the prevailing wind and away from the explosion. If you are NOT close to the explosion, evacuate only when instructed to do so by some official agency/person or when there is absolutely no chance to safely shelter in place. Remember, the key is to reduce the time of exposure to any radiological agent.

Plan for family members to be separated for as long as three to five days.

Plan for family members to meet up at a prearranged location or reception center.

Plan for family communication via cell phones or digital messaging (best). Establish family receiving and sending times to conserve battery power. Have a list of phone numbers/email addresses and the street address of friends and relatives in your kits and with each family member at all times.

You will probably travel by privately owned automobile. If evacuating by vehicle, do not remove your HEPA, N95 or Air-Aide mask. Most vehicles are not airtight. Keep the fuel tank ½ full at all times.

Keep state and city maps in your home, office, and in each vehicle. Have a "birds-eye" view of your city or area in your mind.

Have an evacuation kit (Bug-Out-Bag) prepared and readily accessible. The bag should be something that you can physically carry for at least five miles. Backpacks are good.


  • 2 changes of old, durable clothes
  • $500 in cash in small bills and coins
  • Plastic raincoats or large trash bags, rubber gloves
  • Spare credit cards
  • Spare checks/most recent ATM receipt/most recent bank statement
  • Spare keys
  • One pair of comfortable, well broken-in shoes
  • 1 quart of water for each person
  • Transportable food/snacks
  • Prescription medication
  • Spare eyeglasses (do not take or wear contacts)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • One good multipurpose tool or work knife