Preparedness Empowers You

It saves lives, property, and time.

Emergencies happen, often with little or no notice. By taking action beforehand you can be prepared for any emergency.

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Evacuations from Navy Installations

NAVAL AIR STATION MERIDIAN, Miss. (Aug. 27, 2012) Master-at-Arms 1st Class weighs down a sign directing evacuees to the welcome center security training building 266 at Naval Air Station Meridian, Miss. NAS Meridian accepted almost 80 evacuees trying to escape the path of tropical storm Isaac. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Casey H. Kyhl/Released) 120827-N-WJ771-034
Courtesy of FEMA

In the event of an emergency, installation and local Emergency Managers have plans and procedures to direct evacuation or direct movement of nonessential and non-emergency personnel and family members to safer locations. Essential and emergency personnel status will depend on the situation and your assignment to emergency or support teams. Installation procedures provide the means to warn personnel onboard the installation. Additional procedures for personnel off base are provided to installations overseas where the local government may not have the required capabilities.

Plan Ahead—Safe and effective evacuation requires planning ahead—know ahead of time where you will go and how you will get there. There may be little advance warning. It is important to keep in mind that destructive weather, earthquakes, and other hazards may limit or completely eliminate some transportation methods, especially bridges, ferries, tunnels, and mass transit systems. You should plan primary and alternative evacuation routes in advance, with appropriate maps in your emergency supply kit. During certain emergencies—especially those involving flooding, high winds, multiple aftershocks, or volcanic eruption—emergency public information broadcasts may include prohibitions on using travel trailers, campers, motor homes, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, and boats.

Be familiar with your installation’s plans and procedures—review them periodically and whenever you change duty stations. Evacuation plans identify the available transportation networks and their capabilities, especially the carrying capacity of proposed evacuation routes and existing or potential bottlenecks caused either by traffic or natural occurrences, such as rising waters. For more information, contact your Installation Emergency Manager and notify your local Emergency Manager of any transportation needs you may have.

The installation's Evacuation Management Team coordinates evacuation operations, as well as the return or relocation of displaced personnel. Procedures address the evacuation of people with special needs, including providing transportation and assisting disabled persons throughout the evacuation cycle. Assembly areas are designated where personnel should gather during the evacuation to board arranged transportation, when available.

After evacuating, all members of the Navy community must be accounted for to ensure the safety of the community and the distribution of support services and public assistance. If the scale of the evacuation makes assembly impractical, electronic "rally points" are established.

How to Prepare

  • Be informed.
  • Navy personnel with NMCI or OneNet access—self register all cell phones, home phone, e-mail addresses, etc. in the Wide Area Alert Network (WAAN) to receive notifications wherever you are. (Navy can’t alert you if they can’t find you.)
  • Make a written evacuation plan. Safe and effective evacuation requires planning ahead—there may be no advance warning.
  • You should plan primary and alternative evacuation routes in advance, with appropriate maps to take along in your emergency supply kit. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options depending on the emergency.
  • If you don't have access to a vehicle, make other arrangements ahead of time and become familiar with alternative means of transportation in your area—trains, buses, etc.
  • Depending on regulations at the remote safe haven or civilian shelter, pets may have to be left behind, so ask your installation Emergency Management Officer for additional information on your site. Service animals are always permitted inside civilian shelters. Plan how you will care for your animals and provide extra food, water, and supplies for them.
  • Make a written emergency communication plan in case family members are separated.
  • Build an emergency kit.
  • Keep a full tank of gas—power outages or congestion could make refueling challenging.

Actions to Take During an Evacuation

  • Plan to take one car to reduce congestion and delay.
  • Gather your emergency supply kit, adequate for at least three days.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and clothing, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a cap.
  • Close and lock all doors and windows.
  • Unplug electrical equipment. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding.
  • 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 watch TV, listen to a battery-powered radio, or check the Internet often for information or official instructions and follow them.
  • Leave the hazard area when directed to avoid being trapped or stranded.
  • Let others know or post a note as to where you are going.
  • Follow the recommended evacuation routes and zones; shortcuts may be blocked.
  • Stay alert for damaged or missing roads, bridges, and structures.
  • Stay away from downed power lines.
  • Once you are in a safe place, muster with your command if you are military or civilian personnel or a member of the selective reserves.


Be Ready Navy—Be informed before, during, and after an incident; make a written family emergency plan; and build an emergency supply kit good for at least three days.

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