1. Take your emergency kit.
Your emergency kit should also include your emergency plan, medications, wallet, identification and cell phone. Ensure your pets are also included in your emergency plan by accounting for alternative shelters in advance. This process will expedite your response time and possibly save your life.
2. Shut off water, electricity, and gas if instructed to do so.
Find your emergency shut off for your home and gas lines well before any disaster or emergency event. Most often the water shut off is located on both ends of the water meter. If you follow the pipe that leads inside your home, you will find the one shut off valve for inside your house. If you follow the other side of the water meter, the piping should lead you away from your home. Another shutoff valve should be located there also.
3. Notify your out-of-town contact and leave a note inside indicating when you left and where you are going (if time permits).
Part of your emergency plan should include having a list of emergency contacts in case of an emergency. This list should consist of hard copies of phones and addresses for all your emergency contacts. Ensure you call them in advance and let them know your location and your travel route.
4. Lock your home.
Locking your home may seem obvious, but in the hast of evacuating your home, you may forget. You can also use your emergency plan and checklist to ensure you cover all aspects of the evacuation. Having an evacuation checklist acts as an essential backup check.
5. Register with your local reception center or local emergency management organization.
Many families use their local emergency operations center as a check-in point or rallying point for family members. When families become separated during a disaster, it's essential to have a place where you and your family can check-in to ensure everyone is safe. You should be able to call into your local emergency operations center and tell them you're okay. If another family member is in another region, they can also call in and register. Even if you can't see or be with your family member, you'll at least know they are safe.
A more recent trend has been to use the "check-in" feature inside of Facebook as a tool to give family members a heads-up that you're okay. While this feature is nice-to-have, it is still susceptible to communication failure. It won't work if the internet and telecommunication infrastructure is damaged. For those times, please contact your local emergency operations center and register.