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Evacuation

In some emergencies, you may be told to evacuate your home or neighborhood. Officials will tell you when to evacuate and what routes are open. If you are being told to evacuate, look for information about available shelters through the official information sources. If you have time, close windows, lock doors, and unplug appliances. Authorities will tell you if you need to turn off your utilities (water, gas, electricity). It is important to have a plan for your pet in the case of an evacuation. Visit the Humane Society web site for more information.

Find your evacuation route out of the District.

Note this application is for planning purposes only. It displays known evacuation routes for residents. It does not account for real-time disaster updates to evacuation routes.

Evacuation by Walking

In many circumstances, walking is an effective means of evacuating a neighborhood. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing, and don't forget to take your Emergency Go Kit with you.

Evacuation by Car or Other Vehicle

  • There are 19 primary evacuation routes out of the city. They are clearly marked with signs directing motorists to the Capital Beltway (I-495) and beyond.
  • Pennsylvania Avenue will be the North/South dividing line during an evacuation. No vehicles will be permitted to cross Pennsylvania Avenue during an evacuation. Take this into account as you plan where your family will reunite after an emergency.
  • During an emergency, stay tuned to your local emergency station or Highway Advisory Radio station (1650 AM), or listen to emergency personnel for instructions about which route to follow. Take your Emergency Go Kit with you.

On the Metro

  • If there is an emergency while you are on the Metro, wait for the train to stop. Wait for instructions.
  • Do not exit the train until told to do so.
  • The safest place is usually inside the Metro car.
  • Identify the side of train you will be exiting. In a tunnel, look for the side of the tunnel with lights and a raised walkway. On elevated tracks outside, look for the side with a railing and walkway. On ground-level tracks outside, look for the side away from the other set of tracks and the third rail, which generally has a white cover along it.
  • Use the box with the emergency door release handle located to the left of the center doors of the car. Pull the handle down, slide the left-center door to the left, and exit the train.
  • Do not touch the third rail or the paddles protruding from beneath the train. They carry high voltage electricity. Also, stay away from the tracks. A train could come without warning, and there may be electric current in the rails.
  • The walkway in Metro tunnels switches from one side of the tunnel to the other or may run between two sets of tracks. To get from one walkway to another, cross the track bed. Do not attempt to cross the third rail.
  • Look for emergency exits marked with lighted signs. Use these exits, unless Metro or emergency response personnel tell you not to do so. Follow the stairs up to the hatchway doors, and exit to the surface.

On the Bus

  • If there is an emergency while you are on a bus, wait for the bus to stop. Listen to the bus operator's instructions.
  • Windows and ceiling hatches serve as emergency exits. Use the red levers on either side of a window to release it.
  • For more information, visit Metro's web site at www.wmata.com or call (202) 637-7000