People and Pets



Voluntary Evacuation. A warning to persons within a designated area that a threat to life and property exists or is likely to exist in the immediate future. Individuals issued this type of warning or order are not required to evacuate, but it would be to their advantage to do so.

Mandatory or Directed Evacuation. A warning to persons within the designated area that an imminent threat to life and property exists and individuals must evacuate in accordance with the instructions of local officials.

One factor to consider when deciding whether to evacuate is the type of disaster or emergency. Some emergencies allow you time to prepare (such as hurricanes or winter storms); others can come upon you quickly (such as flooding, wildfires, or tornadoes).

If you live in a flood-prone area, it’s best to evacuate during the voluntary phase so you will have enough time to move. Flood waters rise suddenly and trap you, making it difficult or impossible to leave at a later time.

If you will need assistance in moving the individual you care for, it’s best to plan early and move early. If you wait too late to evacuate, you may not be able to find friends or neighbors to help you.

If you choose not to evacuate during the voluntary phase, it is imperative that you monitor the emergency situation closely.

Whatever you decide, it is extremely important to have an evacuation plan.

Used by permission of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

This document is part of a larger publication titled Emergency Handbook: Preparation and Recovery (ACES-2168).

The Emergency Handbook is available digitally as an iBook and on the web. Use the left-hand navigation bar to access all topics and pages. This publication is not available in print. To download or print the pages you need, please look for Printable PDF Download this information.

For more information, contact your county Extension office.