If you must evacuate

 Authorities will issue an evacuation order over television and radio. They also will release lists of evacuation shelters and times they will open. Follow recommended routes to the evacuation center, and if possible, travel during daylight.

 Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges.

 Take your own supplies to the shelter, including food, a change of clothes and shoes, medicine, diapers and other sanitary needs. Bring a radio, pencil, notebook, important papers, flashlight, bedding, plastic bags for dirty clothes and items to keep yourselves amused.

 Remember that pets (except guide dogs), fire-arms and alcoholic beverages are not permitted in most evacuation centers. Find an inland kennel for pets or pet-friendly hotels in a safe area. Only two shelters in Miami-Dade and one in Broward will allow pets and space is limited.

 Register at the desk when entering. The Red Cross keeps records of the people they shelter. That list can be searched nationally. This will help family and friends find you if you can't contact them.

 Volunteer to assist shelter workers.

 Keep your area as clean and neat as possible. Bring your sense of humor; tensions can run high.

Related stories from Bradenton Herald